Support for ex-services personnel arrested and taken into police custody
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Northamptonshire Police has partnered with Project Nova, which supports vulnerable veterans taken into police custody, with the help of funding from the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
For most ex-services personnel, the transition to civilian life is a smooth one. For some, however, this sadly isn’t the case. The transition can be difficult to navigate and issues like housing problems, homelessness, debt, health issues like mental illness and PTSD, or drug and alcohol misuse can mean some veterans are at risk of offending.
The innovative, one-year pilot scheme has been funded by Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold and costs in the region of £50,000.
Project Nova, delivered in partnership between RFEA - The Forces Employment Charity - and Walking With The Wounded, was founded in 2014 to offer help to those who have been arrested and enter police custody. It is now available in this county.
Upon receiving a referral, a Project Nova coordinator will undertake a needs assessment to establish what bespoke support should be tailored to the individual, followed by practical support offered through a network of local charities. Project Nova coordinators understand and empathise with the experiences of ex-servicemen and women both during and after their military careers. This support can give vulnerable veterans the strength they need to make the necessary changes to their lives and access support through health and specialist services, enabling them to live law abiding lives.
Ben Nickels, Project Nova Coordinator for Northamptonshire, said: “I’m delighted we are now able to offer Project Nova services in Northamptonshire. Veterans are often reluctant to engage with mainstream support, as they do not feel that their life experience is well understood. With the support of Northamptonshire Police, we can improve the lives of veterans by preventing them from reaching the point of arrest through tackling the social issues at the root cause of their behaviour. This will, in turn, improve the lives of the local community, by reducing veteran offending in the area.”
Chief Inspector Julie Mead, the Force’s custody lead said: “I’m delighted we have partnered with Project Nova and can now offer bespoke support to any vulnerable ex-services personnel brought into custody.
“This support is also available to veterans referred by specialist police teams, or other statutory organisations because they are identified as being at risk of arrest - ideally intervention will take place to stop issues escalating and they will get the help and support they need at the earliest opportunity.”
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold said: “Former members of the armed forces can face a number of unique challenges and it is important that they get the required help and support if they find themselves in the unfortunate event of having been arrested.
“It’s important too that they feel there is a support mechanism there for them, and I am very proud to support this project that will be able to help them transform their lives for the better.”
Notes to Editors
About Project Nova
Project Nova, delivered in partnership between RFEA and Walking With The Wounded, is there to offer help to those who have been arrested and enter police custody. It also supports veterans who are referred by specialist police teams, or other statutory organisations, because they are at risk of arrest.
RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity – exists to provide life-long, life-changing support, job opportunities, and training to service leavers, reservists, veterans and their families, irrespective of circumstances, rank, length of service, or reason for leaving.
Founded in 1885 and operating across the UK, we have the specialist knowledge and understanding to bridge the gap between military life and civilian employment. We work in partnership with other organisations and employers who, like us, respect and value the unique qualities and abilities of all those who have served.
Walking With The Wounded (‘WWTW’) delivers life-changing employment, mental health and care coordination programmes for ex-servicemen and women and their families who are in need – empowering them to regain their independence, thrive and contribute once more.
The charity develops innovative initiatives in partnership with the NHS to target veterans who are physically, mentally, or socially disadvantaged and deliver significant social impact. The focus is often on early intervention to help break the downward spiral which creates a disproportionately high number of ex-military within homeless, police custody, unemployment, and mental health statistics.