Members of the armed forces are targets of abuse and violence
MORE than one in five service personnel have had abuse shouted at them by strangers, according to new research.
And even though 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.
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.
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And almost a fifth of those surveyed have at some point been refused service or entry in pubs, hotels and elsewhere.
One Royal Marine, from Bickleigh-based 42 Commando, said the attitudes to service personnel in Plymouth compared with America are very different.
He said: "In America they really appreciate their Armed Forces. We were in New York recently talking to some locals and as soon as they found out we were British Marines they were queuing up to buy us drinks. You don't get that here. People only tend to thank you if they're drunk."
The Commando claimed there were certain places they would be refused entry to because they were forces personnel.
He added: "They just won't let you in if they know you are a marine. The lads really have to hide their tattoos and dress like a student to get in."
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 trouble getting a mobile phone contract, according to the survey.
However, 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.
Incoming Labour leader of Plymouth city Council, Tudor Evans, said he found the survey very interesting but believes it is not the case in Plymouth.
"Of course this is a national survey and I am sure in a place like Plymouth where so many of our civilians are in the Armed Forces the results would be much different here.
"Having said that, it does strike me that the man who did so much to elect a Conservative government should be the author of this report, when the Tory government is laying off service personnel in huge numbers
"If our government doesn't show our Armed Forces respect how are we going to break the log jam?"
In the report, Lord Ashcroft called for the public to thank those in uniform for their service.
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