New research commissioned to shed light on ex-Service personnel in the Criminal Justice System

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded £245,000 to Nacro in partnership with the Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice (IPSCJ) and the Institute for Social Innovation and Impact (ISII) at the University of Northampton to conduct research on ex-Service personnel in the Criminal Justice System in England, Wales and Scotland.

Currently, very little is known about the numbers and needs of veterans in the Criminal Justice System. This much needed project will examine the current processes and mechanisms in place to identify ex-Service personnel in the Criminal Justice System, while also examining the barriers to uptake of support for both ex-Service personnel in the System and their families.

The research team will interview and survey national and local stakeholders across England, Wales and Scotland to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the current identification processes, and to understand the current provision of statutory and voluntary support services available to ex-Service personnel in the Criminal Justice System. The team will also work with ex-Service personnel who are, or have been in the System and their families, to understand their experiences and the barriers to support.

The 18-month project will commence in August 2021. If you would like to find out more, or get involved, please contact Helen Berresford at

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, says:

“We commissioned this project after extensive consultation with stakeholders which exposed the lack of data and information on ex-Service personnel who offend. To be able to effectively support some of the most vulnerable Service leavers who find themselves in contact with the Criminal Justice System, we must first ensure that there are consistent mechanisms across the Criminal Justice System to identify them.  Only then can we fully understand how many of our Armed Forces personnel end up offending, what their needs are and ensure that they receive appropriate support to make a successful transition into civilian life.”

Helen Berresford, Director of External Engagement at Nacro, says:

“We are delighted to be undertaking this project which we hope will make a real difference for the outcomes of those ex-Service personnel who come into contact with the criminal justice system. With so little known about the true numbers of ex-Service personnel in the criminal justice system, it is vital we understand whether the current ways of identifying people with Service history are effective and what more can be done. Ultimately this is about making sure ex-Service personnel and their families can access the support they need for a successful transition to the community. We are looking forward to working collaboratively with FiMT, our academic partners – The Institute for Public Safety, Crime & Justice and The Institute for Social Innovation & Impact and most importantly, ex-Service personnel, their families and the organisations that support them.”

Dr Matthew Callender, Research Leader at the Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice, says:

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this important project in collaboration with Nacro. We hope that the project will make a positive difference for ex-Service personnel who come into contact with the criminal justice system as well as their families. We are excited to support the Forces in Mind Trust to understand the needs of ex-Service personnel and identify the factors influencing their access to support.”

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