Police and Citizens Advice to support vulnerable veterans

British soldiers in Iraq Image copyright PA
Image caption Police and Citizens' Advice Scotland are to work together with former service personnel who encounter problems after leaving the armed forces

Vulnerable ex-service personnel are to receive specialist support if they come into contact with the police.

A new scheme will see veterans - whether they are victims, witnesses or offenders - referred to Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).

The Armed Services Advice Project aims to help troops who encounter problems after returning to civilian life.

CAS chairman Dominic Notarangelo said: "Vulnerable veterans are a hard-to-reach group."

Most veterans successfully reintegrate after leaving the forces.

But for some, additional support is needed to deal with problems arising from drug or alcohol abuse and homelessness.

Mr Notarangelo added: "Vulnerable veterans often have reservations about coming forward to ask for help.

"So the fact police are able to act as an intermediary to put us in touch is a great stride forward.

"The expertise and facilities were all in place, and now we have a working partnership.

"It will help police to keep people safe, and allow us to reach out and help more vulnerable veterans, making sure they get the support they need and deserve."

'Early intervention'

Police Scotland will put veterans in touch with staff at one of nine regional CAS offices around the country.

Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: "We know that the vast majority of veterans leave the army and make successful transitions to civilian life.

"In fact, many go on to have successful careers in the police.

"However, for a small number, a lot of extra support is needed."

The scheme is partly funded by the veterans' charity Poppyscotland.

Chief executive Ian McGregor said: "Early intervention is at the heart of all Poppyscotland's welfare services.

"This new partnership means we can identify and offer support at a much earlier stage to vulnerable veterans coming into contact with the police."

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