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Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 226547, tabled on 27 February 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions his Department has had with the Office of the Chief Coroner on the recording of known veterans as such in inquests where the verdict is one of suicide.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

11 March 2019

Any suicide is a tragedy, and we take the welfare of our brave service men and women extremely seriously.

For data on suicides amongst veterans to be of value, the information collected must be reliable, consistent and comprehensive. It is not possible to achieve this through coroners’ inquest conclusions for a number of practical and administrative reasons, including the parameters of the coroner’s role.

Ministry of Justice officials have talked to colleagues in the Chief Coroner’s Office about the issues to do with coroners recording whether the deceased had ever served in the armed forces.

Ministers from the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defence have not explicitly discussed coroners accessing information held by other government departments in suicide cases, but have on several occasions discussed the issue of veterans in inquests. More widely, the Government recognises the need to gather data on veterans in the criminal justice system. The Ministry of Justice will continue to work with the Ministry of Defence and other government departments to explore how we can further this objective.

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