Interesting Times




Good morning – it’s great to hear that this week:

1. That Forces Connect South East-Veterans Hubs are up and running. Over in Kent this week. If YOU have ideas on how our Veterans services can be better joined up. We’d love to hear it… (Tell us).

2. 3PWRR are opening their Army Reserve Centre doors on the 1st Wednesday every month to veterans. Well done PWRR! 

3. #LeaveNoManBehind are actively trying to search for and find missing veterans.

We are living in Interesting Times! 

A brief introduction to the Forces Connect South East – Veterans Hubs Project

A brief introduction to the Forces Connect South East – Veterans Hubs Project or Veterans Hubs for Short.

The Veterans Hubs project will run for two years from May 2018 and its purpose is to enhance local veterans’ support through identifying need and current provision, developing best practice and enhancing the current offer through potential new hubs.

This will be achieved through 3 Key Outcomes:

  1. Complete a needs and gap analysis.
  2. Create a Best Practice Guide to develop sustainable services (Hubs) alongside ASDIC.
  3. Roll out Best Practice and develop locally tailored services based on identified need. 

Our Methodology will be to:

      • Build relationships with current Hubs, ASDIC, Veterans Gateway, Military Units, local councils and service providers.
      • Provide knowledge and deliver training based on best practice to current and new Hubs enabling them to grow and/or become self-sustaining.
      • Case studies.
      • Academic evaluation.
      • Regular reporting.

We will achieved this through targeted questionnaires, site visits and joint working supporting the original FCSE objectives. Plus we will bring in academic rigour. The outcome of rolling out best practices will show scalable benefits, making effective hubs replicable and self-sustaining. We aim to make this cost effective through training and robust recording.

Do have a look at our FAQ’s and feel free to join the conversation on twitter @SimpleIsntIt , facebook and by email to 




What is a Veterans Hub?

Well its a cover title for all the drop-ins, meetings, breakfast clubs and others that provide more than simply a social function. IE provide help and support, are organised and managed to the benefit of veterans and add to the amenity of their local community.  

What does ASDIC stand for? 

ASDIC is the Association of ex-Service Drop In Centres whose website The main purpose of this website is to provide a directory of ASDIC Drop-Ins so thatVeterans and their families can decide the best Drop-In to visit Drop-Ins and the organisations that support them can see where they all are and what they do, so that they can work together and give the best possible service to those who need their help. 

The ASDIC website also gives details of each drop-in and explains how ASDIC is organised.

(ASDIC was also an early form of sonar used to detect submarines.)

What is Forces Connect South East?

The Forces Connect South East project is a cross-border partnership intended to promote a greater understanding and awareness of the issues affecting the Armed Forces Community within public authorities and to embed and mainstream the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant across the South East.

Where does the Hubs Project Cover? 

Surrey, Kent, East Sussex and West Sussex County Councils, Brighton and Hove, Medway Councils and Sussex NHS.

SMPL Team awarded Armed Forces Covenant Bronze Award


The Simple Solutions team have been awarded the Armed Forces Covenant – Bronze Award under their Employer Recognition Scheme.

Lucy Nield said, “We are delighted to be granted this award that recognised our work with the Vulnerable Veterans project. This began two years ago looking to provide in-reach to Surrey Police custody centres but has grown to so become much more.”

“We are supporting two Veterans drop-ins (Veterans Hubs) in Woking and Aldershot. We are woking with ASDIC to create a comprehensive record of Veterans Drop-Ins and with Forces Connect South East to bring these groups into a mutually supportive co-operative. The area this new project covers includes Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey and Northern Hampshire. Exciting times lie ahead”.

What is an NHS Health Check?

Woman with files

If you’re aged 40-74 with no pre-existing conditions you can have an NHS Health Check. Think of it as a free midlife MOT to check that your important circulatory and vascular systems are healthy. You’ll be asked some easy questions and have some simple tests done by a health professional. Most people will find that they’re perfectly well but a few people might need to make a few small lifestyle changes to ensure they stay healthy.

Why should I get checked?

As you get older, your risk of having a stroke or developing problems such as kidney disease, type 2 diabetes or heart disease increases. That’s why it’s important you have an NHS Health Check as it can spot early signs of these illnesses. This means you can take action to prevent them and lower your risk so you can enjoy your life for longer. Why don’t you start off by taking the heart age test to see how healthy your heart is?

How do I get an NHS Health Check?

First of all, check that you’re eligible for an NHS Health Check. Then you’ll need to find your nearest local participating venue and contact them to book a check. Don’t forget that even if you’re feeling healthy, it’s still worth having your check so you can reduce your risk of becoming unwell as you get older.

Ask at any of the participating venues or email to find out more about NHS Health Checks.

Change of Location for SAFDI this week.

We have changed the location of the Surrey Armed Forces Drop In (SAFDI) September due to a clash of events.

On Thursday 22nd February 2018 we will be meeting Veterans at the

Woking Railway Athletic Club

(also known as Railway Club) from 1000 -1300.

Goldsworth Road


GU21 6JT

(01483) 598499


Its fun, free and everyone is welcome. Meet up with SSAFA, Vulnerable Veterans and more.

Please share this invitation with all the veterans you know.

Thank you for your continuing support and we look forward to seeing you on Thursday.


Taser’s Free Body Cameras Are Good for Cops, Not the People

An interesting re-blogged article from Wired this morning, written and argued by Jake Laperrurque that I think shows an interesting view of the world from a US perspective on privacy and law enforcement. What do you think?

THE COMPANY FORMERLY known as Taser announced last week it’s offering free body cameras to every police officer in the United States. The one-year trial is likely to dramatically increase the number of body cameras used in law enforcement across

Body Worn Camera

the country. But citizens should be skeptical. Taxpayers might not have to pay directly for the cameras, now manufactured under the name Axon, but the devices will still come with significant costs, both to police and the communities they serve, as long as rules governing the cameras’ use don’t exist.

Body cameras aren’t a cure-all for police misconduct, but they can reduce the use of force and the abuse of police powers. They’re a tool for accountability, not a magic potion to fix community-police relations, and like any tool they need to be used properly. Without effective guidelines and community input, body cameras could fall short of the goal of enhancing accountability and, instead, actually decrease trust in police.

For example, when police haven’t recorded at critical moments or have failed to disclose footage, it’s led to serious backlash. And without proper rules, deploying police body cameras en masse threatens to create a pervasive surveillance tool and turn what is supposed to be a check on police into a worrisome increase in police power.

Unfortunately, as an analysis from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Upturn shows, police departments that receive federal funding have some of the least effective policies on issues ranging from privacy to accountability to public input. Departments that get cameras at a discount appear to spend less time considering their impact on all relevant stakeholders and planning accordingly, an unsurprising but still serious development. And now that Axon has entirely eliminated the cost of body cameras, that problem will escalate.

Before police departments begin using body cameras, it’s critical that they first devote serious effort into setting guidelines that will ensure these devices serve their intended purpose, and get input from affected communities. At my organization, the Constitution Project, our Committee on Policing Reform recently released a report that reflects a consensus set of recommendations from civil liberties advocates, former law enforcement officers, and former military officers. Hopefully these suggestions can help law enforcement address some of the most pressing and difficult questions they face in implementing body camera programs.

The most fundamental question with body cameras is, when should they be recording? Studies show that in order to avoid missing events that should be recorded, it’s best to offer clean-cut rules rather than looser, discretion-based standards, and to have clear and strict policies that cameras should be on whenever officers are interacting with the public or engaged in a police action. That said, civilians should know when cameras are on and have the opportunity to opt-out. This is key both for protecting individual privacy and in supporting law enforcement investigations, where officers often speak to victims and witnesses in sensitive situations where individuals don’t want to be recorded.

Another pressing question: When should footage be available to the public? Last year, after Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot by police in Charleston, South Carolina, body camera footage captured the incident, but it was withheld from the public for days, creating a backlash and intensifying the controversy. This shows that using cameras but depriving the public of access to what the cameras record can backfire and actually degrade police-community relations. Unfortunately, many states have passed problematic laws that severely curtail public access, and sometimes even limit access to the footage by the individuals on camera seeking to file a complaint.

However, while providing some public access seems essential, it’s also important to safeguard individual privacy—and that means redacting personally revealing footage unless the subject of an interaction authorizes its release. Departments not equipped to review thousands of hours of video have faced problems with commercial and spam requests, sometimes conducted for the express purpose of overwhelming departments, that in no way advance the public interest.

States like Washington are taking the lead by creating lawsthat provide access, incorporate privacy protections, and include a formal process to prevent departments from being overwhelmed by access requests. Law enforcement departments that consider adopting a body camera program—along with other state legislatures—should look to Washington’s law and strive to create a similarly balanced system.

Another question that looms large: How to effectively regulate body cameras equipped with facial recognition technology? Facial recognition may still seem like Hollywood dystopia, but Axon plans to incorporate the capability into its cameras in the near future.

There is certainly a role for facial recognition in body cameras—it’s hard to imagine objections to using such technology to locate missing children or identify truly dangerous fugitives at large. But without limitations, these combined technologies could constitute an unprecedented threat to privacy and civil liberties and could mark the end of anonymity. Unchecked, they could be used for pervasive location tracking, or for identifying and cataloging participants at religious ceremonies, political rallies, or protests. Even if such abuse does not occur, the mere threat of it could chill participation in activities fundamental to democratic society.

If facial recognition is coming to body cameras, it should come with appropriate safeguards, like requiring police to get a warrant before using it, as many experts including criminal justice scholars and former law enforcement officers have recommended. Some communities might decide that the risk isn’t worth the reward, and, as Oregon did recently, prohibit the use of facial recognition entirely.

The Axon announcement further solidifies the fact that the overarching question for body cameras is not, “should police have them?” but rather, “since police are going to have them, how should they be used?” It’s critical for both law enforcement and the communities they serve that departments, citizens, and lawmakers tackle the tough questions about body cameras and how to set effective guidelines, and that they begin doing so now.


Thank you Jake.

Jake Laperruque (@jakelaperruque) is senior counsel at the Constitution Projects. He previously served as a fellow for New America’s Open Technology Institute and The Center for Democracy and Technology.

What was the Bronze Age?

Reblogged from the fabulous Egham Museum – well worth a visit if you are up looking for bronze age history (just off the M25!) and doing the later Magna Carta, Kennedy and Air Forces memorials. There’s a National Trust tea rooms, Runnymede Pleasure Grounds and the Thames rolling past too.


Check out the Museum:                                                       

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