Serving Armed Forces personnel and veterans who are taken into custody in Surrey will benefit from a new joint project launched by the Police and Crime Commissioner and funded by the Armed Forces Covenant.
The 'Veterans in the Criminal Justice System' service means anyone with a military background who ends up in one of Surrey's three custody suites in Staines, Guildford or Salfords will be offered the opportunity to be referred to SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.
With the veterans’ permission, their details are referred to SSAFA who can offer practical, emotional and financial support to serving personnel, veterans and their families.
PCC David Munro said: "When I signed the Armed Forces Covenant, I gave my commitment to helping ensure our servicemen and women, both past and present, are treated fairly and given the support they deserve.
"The vast majority of military personnel go on to lead normal civilian lives, but sadly a small minority of those who have served can struggle to readjust to civilian life - we must seek to give the appropriate help to those people wherever possible.
"In addition, I hope this scheme can go some way to ensuring they don't find themselves in the criminal justice system again and reduce re-offending as a result."
Chief Inspector for Criminal Justice Custody John Davies, said: "I am very proud that Surrey Police is going to pilot this initiative, which I hope will be of benefit to detainees with a military connection. Anyone with an Armed Forces background who is brought into custody will have the opportunity to access SSAFA and get the support they need."
Colonel Bob Crawley, Chairman of SSAFA's Surrey Branch, said: "We welcome the new partnership with Surrey Police and look forward to supporting servicemen and veterans who are clearly at a difficult period in their lives, and when needed, their families too. While this is a new project for us in Surrey, it is totally in line with SSAFA's over-riding aim of helping all members of the Armed Forces community who require assistance whatever their circumstances; it's what we do."