GREATER Manchester Police (GMP) has been recognised for its commitment to supporting the armed forces community again.

On Thursday, the Soldering On Awards announced GMP had won the award for the Working Together category, which honours an organisation for its enduring effort to work with and support the military community.

There are around 250,000 members of the armed forces community in Greater Manchester, many of which GMP interacts with, be that as a work colleague, a victim or witness of crime or offenders.

GMP's Supporting Our Armed Forces steering group works to ensure that however they come into contact with GMP, that veterans are given any additional support they may need.

This has included certain dispensation for military service leavers who wish to join GMP who due to military commitments cannot meet the recruitment process timetable, creating a network of 35 armed forces leads across all districts and branches who are the point of contact for their area, as well as 120 armed forces champions across the force who identify and engage with offenders, victims and staff who are from the armed forces community.

GMP employs around 1,100 staff from the armed forces community and recognises the skills these reservists and veterans bring into force, particularly within its specialist departments, such as firearms and counter terrorism.

Veterans are encouraged toward these teams to maximise their military skills.

The force is also the top performing for referrals made to Project Nova, who support veterans who have been arrested or are at risk of arrest.

In 2020, the force become one of only five police forces to receive Gold status in the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme awards.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes said: “Members of the armed forces community have a breadth of skills and experience that as a force if we harness, can be used to deliver the best possible service to the public of Greater Manchester.

“As well as recognising these skills, it is important that we also recognise and provide the support that this pocket of our community needs – be that as our colleagues or as victims or offenders of crime.

“The steps that the GMP Supporting Our Armed Forces steering group has taken, such as implementing a system within our custody suites which refers those to identify as a veteran to further support or sharing important information for the armed forces community on our intranet site, have been of benefit for many veterans adjusting to civilian life.

"We are committed to being the most armed forces friendly police force nationally and will continue to work hard to influence an support other forces across the country to create a nationwide network within policing to support our armed forces community."