Sir Mike Penning speaks in debate on veterans in the criminal justice system

12th September 2018

Speaking in a debate on veterans in the criminal justice system, Sir Mike Penning praises the work of the charity Care after Combat and raises the issue of veterans not feeling confident to declare their service and consequently missing out on support available.

I commend the Minister on his very accurate speech. Self-declaration is a really serious issue. Care after Combat, which is in most prisons—frankly, the big charities were not in there doing the work the hon. Member for Bridgend (Mrs Moon) talked about—knows that the guys and girls who go to prison, for myriad reasons, will not self-declare, even though we know they have served, because their national insurance number has a marker. When I was a Minister and sat where the Minister is sitting, I called for that situation to be reversed so that, rather than people self-declaring, they have to declare that they do not want to be declared. We must address their safety in prison; it is not just pride—some of them are at risk. I commend Care after Combat, in particular, for going into prisons and not caring what people have done, just so that it can get people back out and not reoffending.

My right hon. Friend makes a very important point. I pay tribute to him for his work when he was a Minister in the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice; if I recall correctly, he initiated the Care after Combat pilots, and I pay tribute to the work of that charity too. If I may, I will come on to that and the point about self-declaration shortly, because the hon. Lady made a powerful point about it.


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