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Any suicide is a tragedy, and we take the welfare of our brave service men and women extremely seriously.
For data on suicides amongst veterans to be of value, the information collected must be reliable, consistent and comprehensive. It is not possible to achieve this through coroners’ inquest conclusions for a number of practical and administrative reasons, including the parameters of the coroner’s role.
Ministry of Justice officials have talked to colleagues in the Chief Coroner’s office about the issues to do with coroners recording whether the deceased had ever served in the armed forces.
Ministers from the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defence have on several occasions discussed the issue of to explore how we gather data on veterans in inquests. The Government recognises that personal information about victims of suicide can be used to improve understanding of “at risk” groups and, from that, to support better targeted interventions. More widely, the Government recognises the need to gather data on veterans in the criminal justice system. The Ministry of Justice will continue to work with the Ministry of Defence and other government departments to explore how we can further this objective.