Offending behaviour, mental health and welfare needs of veterans in liaison and diversion services

May, 2018

This research explores the patterns of offending and mental health problems of ex-Service personnel who enter the Criminal Justice System (CJS).  Identified here are differences in the types of mental health and offending behaviour of ex-Service personnel in the CJS, when compared to offenders from the general population.


This project utilised data from 29 Liaison and Diversion (L&D) services across England from the period 2015-2016. Individuals can be referred to these services when they enter the Criminal Justice System (CJS), e.g. from police custody suites or magistrates’ courts, if concerns about mental health or psychosocial needs are raised. We were able to identify which of these referrals pertained to individuals who had previously served in the UK Armed Forces (referred to in this report as veteransi), and were therefore able to compare and contrast socio-demographic factors, offending behaviour and mental health characteristics of veterans with those of non-veterans accessing the L&D service. All of the information in the database was collected by L&D service mental health practitioners during an initial screening assessment. All socio-demographic information was collected via self-report. Offence characteristics were determined from the source of the referral (e.g. from the Police, or from the Prisoner Escort Service). Information regarding the individual’s vulnerabilities (mental health, alcohol/substance misuse, and other vulnerabilities) was gathered from a range of sources: from previous contact with L&D services, from other health databases, or from standardised screening tools.

Full Reference

Short, R., Dickson, H., Greenberg, N. and MacManus, D., 2018. Offending behaviour, mental health and welfare needs of veterans in liaison and diversion services. London: King's College. Available here:

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