'Violence risk' after military tours

#1
Younger members of the armed forces returning from duty are more likely to commit violent offences than the rest of the population, a study suggests.

Researchers analysed data from nearly 14,000 UK service personnel who had served in wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.
They highlighted a particular issue in younger men and those who had combat roles or had a traumatic experience.
The results in the Lancet medical journal come 10 years after the start of the war in Iraq.
Overall criminal activity was slightly lower in military personnel than in people of the same age in the wider population. Some 94% of men returning from combat zones will not offend.

"The military don't select chess-playing choir boys” -Prof Simon Wessely King's College London



However, the researchers found violent offending was higher within members of the armed services and there was a "stark" difference in men under 30 - 20.6% of the 2,728 young men followed had committed a violent offence, compared with 6.7% of young men outside the military.

Most violent offences were assaults.
Being in the junior ranks, deployment in a combat role and experiencing traumatic events, such as being shot at, were all linked to an increased risk of violence when service personnel returned from duty.
'Choir boys' Alcohol abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder were also closely associated with violent behaviour.
The researchers did adjust their analysis to account for the backgrounds of those studied - those with a greater tendency towards violence may be more inclined to choose combat roles.


Prof Simon Wessely, from King's College London, told the BBC: "Those who are in combat roles are themselves slightly different from those who are not.
"The military don't select chess-playing choir boys. They select people who often come from difficult and aggressive backgrounds and they're the ones who are most likely to end up in the parts of the military that do the actual fighting.

"The biggest single risk factor is those who previously had violent offending before they joined up, but there is still an impact of combat, mediated partly through excessive drinking and partly through developing post traumatic stress disorder and mental health problems as a result of combat."
He added that the reluctance of young men to admit they may not be coping is the "biggest single obstacle" to tackling the problem.
'Stigma problem' Surgeon Capt John Sharpley, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) mental healthcare expert, agreed that getting young soldiers to ask for help was a "major issue".
"Stigma is a really big problem. The study shows there is a link between mental health symptoms and violent offending.
"It is not possible to train yourself for something that is traumatic, which by definition is something outside ones experience.
"We do a lot [at the MoD], but we're always going to be in a situation when we need to do more."
A spokesman for the MoD said: "We are committed to supporting members of our armed forces, and their families, as they return to civilian life post deployment.
"That is why we funded this research and have comprehensive mental health support available before, during and after operations.
"This report recognises that the vast majority of service personnel make this adjustment successfully and are not more likely to commit a violent offence post deployment - there is only an increased risk of 2% when compared to the general population.
"However, any violent offence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by our armed forces."
The Royal British Legion said: "The vast majority of ex-service personnel go on to live successful and law-abiding lives. However, inevitably, and for a variety of reasons, a small number experience difficulties."
BBC News - 'Violence risk' after military tours


"The military don't select chess-playing choir boys. They select people who often come from difficult and aggressive backgrounds and they're the ones who are most likely to end up in the parts of the military that do the actual fighting.
Is this how selection works or, indeed, how the Army is perceived?
 
#2
whats scary is that a lot of those people wont even be allowed there pension since criminal conviction negates your entry to the pension scheme..........perhps a bonus for the administration if they in the future choose to impliment the rule (i know they generally ignore it when granting pensions through spva)

its not exactly news though, people in high pressure jobs need to let off steam and when drunk often do stupid things, especially as most of what there talking about is having a punchup, and i seem ot remeber that being an average friday night in town.... particulaly when some throbber realises your in the forces and starts chanting baby killers or decided ot see how "hard" they are....
 
#3
I was a chess-playing choirboy who joined the Infantry. Still punched a couple of people who annoyed me after Bosnia, though.
 
#5
I was pretty angry after Bosnia, took a while to get it out of my system, luckily I didn't go round punching people though a gate got a good shoeing once! Damm it for being shut!
 
#7
The army does not select people from difficult or aggressive backgrounds, it selects people based upon ability, qualifications and potential. An idiotic comment from the Professor.
 
#8
"The military don't select chess-playing choir boys. They select people who often come from difficult and aggressive backgrounds and they're the ones who are most likely to end up in the parts of the military that do the actual fighting."

My perception of this is that the Prof is NOT saying that selection is based on this criteria. he appears to me to be saying that people from this sort of background do tend to join the Armed forces, perhaps to get away from social deprevations, but do usually end up in teeth arms.
 
#9
"The military don't select chess-playing choir boys. They select people who often come from difficult and aggressive backgrounds and they're the ones who are most likely to end up in the parts of the military that do the actual fighting."

My perception of this is that the Prof is NOT saying that selection is based on this criteria. he appears to me to be saying that people from this sort of background do tend to join the Armed forces, perhaps to get away from social deprevations, but do usually end up in teeth arms.
And that's certainly my experience from speaking to the soldiers that came to us on Herrick. Not all, by any stretch of the imagination, but a significant proportion.
 
#11
For the prosecution I give you the right honourable Major Joyce!

All joking aside is there not a quote describing soldiers along the lines of 'people sleep peacefully as violent men are ready to visit violence on their behalf'. Perhaps from Orwell and used by Churchill?
 
#13
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
George Orwell

What is interesting is the finding that they are less likely to commit crime than similar civvies (self-discipline perhaps), but when they do it is much more likely to be violent (when the self-discipline fails).

No-one in the military can be surprised that young men in the teeth arms are likely to get into a scrap, especially if there's PTSD and a bit of beer in the stew.


 
#14
Sarah Montague was trying to milk the shock/horror aspect and said at one point 'so you train soldiers to kill?'

Gosh, isn't reality different from ruling the world in a studio at broadcasting house.....

Duh!
 

Travelgall

LE
Kit Reviewer
#15
Big news. Academic at odds with real world. Members of the Armed Forces are less likely than Civilians to be prone to be both criminals or more importantly engage in criminal violence. It's just that Chippy Labour MP ex Major that's dragging the average up.

Academia fears squaddies with their potty mouths and willingness to do things rather than talk about doing things. So they are of course going to come out with trite, knee jerk and inaccurate conclusions regarding our psychological make up.
 
#16
Do me a favour,,,All trees are green,All catholics are kiddy fiddlers,The sun never shines in Manchester,etc etc.

After De-Mob did the military release hundreds of thousands of Psycho's onto the streets of Britain?,is there any evidence that violent crime increased massively post 1945?.

There are more Afro Caribs in prison for violence than ex squaddies (but we can't mention that can we?).

How many ex coppers are prone to violence (they experience violence daily)?,how many ex ambulance drivers are prone to violence (just imagine the horrors they witness daily)?.

Breaking News--Soldiers are prone to violence, shock horror.

Utter Bollocks.
 
#17
The army does not select people from difficult or aggressive backgrounds, it selects people based upon ability, qualifications and potential. An idiotic comment from the Professor.
Moreover, it selects from those who apply (which may include people from difficult or aggressive backgrounds) but further weeds out those with a drug habit, psychotic behaviour and is a bit touchy about criminal history. As such, it's a bit more selective than many civvy firms.

There's a flip side, though. If the Army is employing a better standard of rascal and the research is valid, does the Army need to invest more in the psychological welfare of its soldiers on return from operations? Or is the deployment side of things a red herring and it's the military atmosphere in general that's contributing to poor social skills?
 
#19
May I deploy this:

Tommy

I WENT into a public 'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, " We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, go away " ;
But it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, wait outside ";
But it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap.
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! "
But it's " Saviour of 'is country " when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An 'Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!



It would appear to ever thus. Need us? Want us? Used us? Dismiss us! in so many different ways.
 
#20
After De-Mob did the military release hundreds of thousands of Psycho's onto the streets of Britain?,is there any evidence that violent crime increased massively post 1945?
Yes, especialy if you count suicide as a violent crime, the number of inmates in mental institutions also rose as well.
 
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