South Yorkshire Police pledges support to veterans as Invictus UK Trails continue in Sheffield

Police chiefs in South Yorkshire have signed the Armed Forces Covenant – pledging to support those serving their country, their families and veterans.

Thursday, 25th July 2019, 4:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th July 2019, 6:17 pm
Commodore Phil Waterhouse and Chief Con Stephen Watson.

The covenant was signed during a ceremony at a military exhibition at Devonshire Green this afternoon, where tanks were on display and military personnel talked about the range of careers available in the armed forces.

The ceremony coincided with the Invictus UK Trials – a week-long series of sporting events for wounded, injured and sick veterans to try to qualify for next year's Invictus Games, which will be held in The Hague, Netherlands.

By signing up to the national covenant, South Yorkshire Police has pledged to support the country’s armed services and to help those serving now, their families and veterans.

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Commodore Phil Waterhouse and Chief Con Stephen Watson.

Inspector Dave Struggles, of South Yorkshire Police, who spent 17 years in the army, said: “It is a promise to ensure that those in the armed forces, veterans and their families are treated with fairness and respect and are not disadvantaged in any way for their military service.”

Insp Struggles, who joined the army at 16 and was a paratrooper and trained mechanic and electronics technician, said: “This is about South Yorkshire Police playing its part in making sure everything is in place to give people the best opportunities after their military service to move and and re-settle in civvy street.”

The dad-of-three said many veterans struggle with normal day-to-day life after leaving the forces.

He said there is a ‘machine’ working behind the scenes to ensure those on the front line are ready for battle at any time, meaning many of those in the armed forces do not need to pay their own bills, do their food shopping, sort accommodation issues, make medical appointments or seek work.

“When you leave there is a big sense of loss and that is why you can find veterans in the community who find it difficult to adjust and struggle with loneliness, post traumatic stress disorder, mental health issues, even things like paying bills, cooking and making medical appointments.

“Homelessness and drug and alcohol problems can be issues.

“The covenant is a written agreement that South Yorkshire Police will do what it can do try and assist that period of transition and to look after veterans as much as we possible can.”

He said the force employs a number of veterans and is promoting job opportunities with those seeking work or preparing to leave the military.

Insp Struggles said the force will also build on its links with military units including the TA and cadets and will also continue to support military charities as part of the covenant pledge.