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Violent crime linked to soldiers

Young British men are much more likely to commit violent crimes if they have served in the Armed Forces, a study has found. More than a fifth of around 3,000 military men under 30 had a conviction for violence, compared with 6.7% of civilian males.

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Young soldiers more likely to commit violent crimes

Young British men are much more likely to commit violent crimes if they have served in the armed forces, a study by Kings College London has found.

  • Of around 3,000 military men under the age of 30, more than a fifth had a conviction for violent offences, compared with 6.7% of their civvie street peers.

There were strong links between combat experience, post-deployment alcohol misuse, traumatic stress and violence.

  • Men who had seen combat in Iraq and Afghanistan were 53% more likely to commit a violent offence than comrades given non-combat roles.
  • Those with multiple experiences of combat had a 70% to 80% greater risk of committing acts of violence.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, who co-authored the study, said 94% of those who serve in combat will not offend: "We are suggesting there is a problem that needs to be looked at, but just as with post traumatic stress disorder this is not a common outcome in military populations."

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