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Demographic Research of the Serving and Former Officer Community

Report | March 2017

A report, prepared by IPC for the Officers' Association and funded by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), provides a definitive demographic profile of the serving and ex-officer community. The report was commissioned to help understand the size, nature and needs of present and future officer communities.

The report states that there are over 26,820 serving UK officers and an estimated 371,600 veteran officers in Great Britain, including 19,200 over 90 years of age. The report projects that the number of veteran officers will fall by 55% in the next 20 years due to the decreasing number of World War Two veterans.

The report identifies groups in greater need: it is estimated that there are over 116,000 officers with long-term illnesses and over 27,000 with dementia. It highlights the mindset of officers, who tend to apply for help only when their problems are acute. Some interviewees acknowledged that officers and their partners were more reluctant to ask for help than others due to the culture and expectation of self-resilience. This could mean that when they did finally ask for help, their needs were greater and more complex.

The report identifies the likely changes to the population, including a higher turnover of officers, with many leaving the Services at a younger age, and more women and Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) officers expected to serve in the future.

The Officers' Association is a charity which supports the welfare of those who have held a commission in HM Armed Services and their dependants.

The six month study was conducted by the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University. The project used a number of techniques to build a picture of the officer community, including interviews, focus groups and analysis of data from the Ministry of Defence and other sources, holding focus groups with current and ex-serving officers, as well as interviews with Service charities.

The report will help the Officers' Association to plan for the future, to ensure the officer community is not disadvantaged as demographic and institutional changes take place.