Police to refer vulnerable ex-service personnel who face difficulties

Heroes welcome – but adjusting to civilian life can be difficult

A new partnership has been launched that will see greater help for vulnerable ex-service personnel who are facing increasing difficulties adjusting to civilian life.

The partnership between Police Scotland and Citizens Advice Scotland will see officers referring veterans they come across to organisations that can help.

Where police come into contact with servicemen suffering issues or difficulties in adjusting after they have been discharged from the military, they will now use the new partnership as a means of directing former soldiers, sailors and airmen to those that can offer practical assistance.

Elgin man Roy Shirlaw faced a series of new challenges when he was medically discharged from the RAF earlier this year. He said that help offered by Citizens Advice Scotland had been “invaluable” in helping him overcome issues related with settling back into the civilian community.

Roy added: “When I joined up I was single and had no kids and did not have much to worry about really – but obviously I’ve now got a house, kids and a wife so it is a big change and a lot to think about.

“I had an operation recently and another last year so that has made things a bit more difficult as well, my mobility is not fantastic so it is a lot of little problems that have come together to make one big one.”

At the launch of the initiative Detective Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: “This is an opportunity for us to work with Citizens Advice Direct and the armed services project to make sure that we are doing our part to refer these people onto services that can support them.”

Dominic Notarangelo from Citizens Advice Scotland added: “It is a means where police can refer quickly and effectively veterans who they come into contact with. Many of them will be in crisis and many of them can benefit from services that we provide.”

The new scheme follows the launch of the first initiative dealing with the needs of ex-servicemen by the Kent County Constabulary four years ago, recognising that ex-servicemen and women had a number of unique issues having often served in battle.

In that scheme police adapted their computerised custody control system so that all people detained would be asked if they had served in the armed forces.

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