Veterans at risk of spiralling into a life of crime are being helped to turn their lives around through a West Midlands Police support scheme.
The force has established the WMP Veteran Peer Support Network which assists former armed forces servicemen and women whose lives have taken a turn for the worse.
It sees a team of police staff and officers go into prisons, police custody and communities to speak to veterans and their families and supporting them to secure housing, employment and financial help or signposting them to mental health services and counselling.
PCs Nick Wolverson and Jaymie Rogers are both’ Veteran Champions’ who volunteered to take on extra responsibility by joining the Network for its 2017 launch.
Nick − now part of the Birmingham offender management team − served with the Grenadier Guards during the Gulf War, while Birmingham neighbourhood officer Jaymie’s father was in the Army, and she spent time growing up overseas.
They understand the difficulties some may have in readjusting following military service and can assist in tackling issues which drive veterans towards strife.
One ex-soldier who Nick and Jaymie worked with was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder which had left him estranged from his mother, partner and child.
He was moved to tears when the officers’ hard work saw his mother attend court to support him.
The pair have since gone on to receive WMP awards for their ongoing professionalism and efforts to help others.
WMP Inspector Johanna Comer, who set up and co-ordinates the Network, is hoping to recruit more people to reach out to veterans who want help to transform their behaviour.
“We aim to identify the factors which are causing veterans lives to spiral out of control and to provide peer support to help people to help themselves.
“There are often multiple simple factors behind people’s issues and by working with them, veterans champions in other partner organisations, and the many available charities, we can usually help to unravel these problems fairly quickly.
“Veterans deserve our support, and they are almost always people who are desperate to get their lives back for themselves and their families.
“By offering friendship and understanding, and by being willing to listen and assist, we can get to the root of the issue and provide the right support through a range of partnership working.
“I am so proud of the work that Jaymie, Nick and our other Veterans Champions have done over the last year or so. I can’t praise the professionalism, passion and care they bring to this role highly enough.”
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