To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate his Department has made of the number of former service personnel admitted to prison who do not identify as former members of the armed forces; and what information he holds on the reasons for such non-disclosure.
The department does not hold estimates on the number of prisoners not disclosing their military service. However, we made changes in 2015 so every individual coming into custody (convicted or remanded) in England and Wales is asked if they have served in the Armed Forces. Figures on custodial receptions show approximately 3% of offenders who responded to the question were former members of the Armed Forces. This percentage has remained stable over the previous 18 months.
In 2014 the department commissioned a review into Former Members of the Armed Forces and the Criminal Justice System. It was suggested that some individuals may be reluctant about self-identifying, due to their embarrassment at having served in the Armed Forces. The review is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/former-members-of-the-armed-forces-and-the-criminal-justice-system
We recognise the unique nature of military service. Prisoners who choose to identify as former members of the Armed Forces are given access to specialist support that is available to them via the armed forces and the specialist charities that work in prisons.