Here at Lincolnshire Police, we are proud supporters of Armed Forces Day, and also of the many veterans who make up a part of the force and are happy to join our communities in celebrating today.
We’re remembering the service of people like Zara McArdle, Dave Morris, and Martin Green, just three of the many veterans who are part of Lincolnshire Police.
Zara, who is a Special Constable with the force, said: “When you leave the military, it can be quite isolating and you can sense a feeling of loss, particularly if you have served a long time. Since joining the Police I have gained the camaraderie that I felt I was missing as a ‘civi’ and I get to work alongside a number of fellow veterans. My ex-military status has enabled me to connect with service personnel and veterans when attending jobs.”
For Dave, a Health and Care Project Support Officer at Lincolnshire Police, joining the force meant he still felt part of something meaningful. He said: “I feel really privileged to have completed 22 years’ service in the RAF and then had the opportunity to become a Project Support Officer with Lincolnshire Police. Even though I am not in uniform anymore, I feel like I am still part of a huge organisation with a lot of amazing opportunities and challenges that gives me the same feeling that I had whilst serving.”
Police Wildlife Crime Officer Martin Green said: “I spent almost 14 years in the RAF, seven in the RAF Regiment and seven as an RAF Armourer. I left the military in 1998, joining Lincolnshire Police at a time when service personnel were hugely valued by the police service as they brought with them a wealth of experience that would take decades to accrue in normal life. Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with many veterans turned police officers.”
We are also taking the opportunity to highlight one of our initiatives to support veterans in Lincolnshire.
Lincolnshire Police signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant in 2020, and the agreement sets out an assurance that ex-service personnel and members of the military should be treated with fairness and respect.
A large proportion of the population in Lincolnshire is made up of veterans, at the time of signing the covenant a reported eight per cent of the country's ex-service personnel were living in the county.
As part of the Armed Forces Covenant there is a focus on helping members of the Armed Forces community have the same access to government and commercial services and products as any other citizen.
The force also works with Project Nova delivered in partnership between The Forces Employment Charity and Walking With The Wounded, Project Nova is there to offer support to veterans who have been arrested and enter police custody, or are at risk of being arrested through any vulnerability, caused by homelessness, and associated issues.
Veterans who can self-refer or be referred by specialist police teams and other statutory organisations, because they are vulnerable or at risk.
Julie Green is the Project Nova Caseworker for Lincolnshire, says: “While most veterans make a successful transition into civilian life and employment, there are a number who find themselves faced with challenges after leaving the military, such as mental health, housing, debt, substance and alcohol misuse, through to health issues such as PTSD, which, without the right support, can spiral towards offending and the risk of offending.
“Our experience is that veterans often are not inclined to engage with mainstream support, as they do not feel that their life experience is well understood. With the support of Lincolnshire Police, we aim to improve the lives of veterans by preventing them from reaching the point of arrest through tackling the social issues at the root cause of social unrest.”
Chief Constable Chris Haward said: “Whilst people far and wide are pausing today to reflect on the service our military have given to this country, it is also a fitting moment to put a spotlight on our commitment through this covenant to ensure that our veterans are treated with fairness and respect. It’s the least we can do and I’m proud to put my name to this and continue to support as Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police.”
PCC Marc Jones said: "Veterans are a hugely important part of our Lincolnshire community, and I am delighted to have signed the pledge.
“Along with other projects and work done in the county it demonstrates, not just our profound gratitude to those who have served in the forces to protect us all, but also to demonstrate how important they are to our communities.”
“By signing up to the Armed Forces covenant we are recognising that those who have served have given a lot, as have their families in many cases, and they deserve to be treated with dignity and fairness.”