Policy issue

The United Kingdom has three separate Criminal Justice Systems. In England and Wales, the Criminal Justice System comes under the control of the UK parliament and government at Westminster. In Scotland and in Northern Ireland, criminal justice is devolved to the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly respectively.

The majority of ex-Service personnel make a successful transition into civilian life and avoid any adverse contact with the Criminal Justice System. However, a minority go on to offend after leaving the Armed Forces and this can have significant and negative consequences for themselves and their families.

Policy position

We believe that no ex-Service personnel should be disadvantaged as a result of their service, and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most, such as those who have been injured or bereaved. Our vision is for all ex-Service personnel to avoid any adverse contact with the Criminal Justice System, for Service leavers at risk of offending to be identified before leaving the Armed Forces and provided with the necessary support, and in the case that they do go on to offend, they receive appropriate, effective and timely support to prevent any re-offending. In addition, any contributing factors which result in their engagement in criminal activity, particularly those related to their time in service, should be appropriately considered and support provided to both themselves and their families.

We believe that more should be done to ensure that there is consistent data collection on the numbers of ex-Service personnel in the Criminal Justice System and that the data collection should cover all stages of the criminal justice process. This will enable policy makers and service providers to make informed decisions and provide support for any unmet needs. Working with others, we are using our evidence and knowledge base to ensure this happens.


Click here to download FiMT’s Criminal Justice Policy Statement.