CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

HOME AFFAIRS/JUSTICE – CORONERS, SUICIDES, SERVICE PERSONNEL AND VETERANS [65085] – 25 June 2020

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to instruct the Coroner's Service to ascertain and record, in all cases of suicide, whether the deceased was a (a) present or (b) former member of the (i) Regular Armed Forces or (ii) Reserves.  [65085]

[Due for Answer on 1 July.] 

QUESTION TRANSFERRED FROM HOME AFFAIRS TO JUSTICE 

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Alex Chalk): Every suicide is a tragedy and we take the welfare of our service men and women, whether veterans or current members of the Armed Forces or Reserves, very seriously.

The Government recognises that personal information about victims of suicide can be used to improve understanding of “at risk” groups and, from that, to support better targeted interventions. But for data on suicides amongst veterans and serving members of the Armed Forces or Reserves to be of value, the information collected must be reliable, consistent and comprehensive. For a number of practical and administrative reasons, including the parameters of the coroner’s role, this isn’t possible in the context of coroner suicide conclusions and there are no plans, therefore, to require coroners to record whether the deceased had served in the Armed Forces or Reserves.

The Chief Coroner has given coroners clearer guidance so that deaths, including suicide, are recorded more consistently.