Service personnel ‘abused by strangers’

More than one in five service personnel have had abuse shouted at them by strangers, according to research.

Although more than half of servicemen and women have experienced strangers offering thanks and support in the last five years, nearly one in 20 had experienced violence or attempted violence.

The study, commissioned by Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft, found the British public are less appreciative than their American counterparts.

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Two thirds of the American public said they had personally thanked a member of the forces or could see themselves doing so. This compared to just over a quarter in Britain.

Nearly two thirds of the public said there was too little recognition for the armed forces in British society.

Almost three quarters of UK personnel serving overseas said they had experienced companies refusing to send goods to British Forces Post Office (BFPO) addresses.

More than a quarter of personnel said they had been refused a mortgage, loan or credit card in the last five years, and one in five had had trouble getting a mobile phone contract. Personnel often said that their unavoidable frequent changes of address counted against them in credit checks.

Finding a good job on leaving the forces was the biggest concern. More than half of service personnel feared that employers would not understand what they had done in the military and so would not give them a chance.

Despite a generally positive view of forces personnel and their attributes, a quarter of employers thought non-officers were unlikely to have people management skills.

The research polled more than 9,000 serving personnel.

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