11 February 2018
Officer welfare was under discussion at a workshop for senior officers and police leaders being hosted at Police Federation headquarters in Leatherhead.
The workshop, which was held on Friday (9 February) and will be followed by two similar events next month, comes after research into the link between demand, capacity and officer welfare. It coincided with the publication of a new report Police Officer Welfare, Demand, and Capacity Survey Inferential Results.
“We are all aware that officers’ wellbeing is suffering due to the effects of the Government’s cuts programme,” says Tiff Lynch, chair of Leicestershire Police Federation, “No force is immune from these issues so I am pleased to see the Federation hosting this workshop and bringing together police leaders to consider the challenges officers are facing as they try to meet increasing demand with reduced resources.
“The imbalance between demand and capacity is impacting on officer welfare and also the level of service they can provide to the communities we serve.”
Che Donald, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, has highlighted that its research began in 2015 with members’ focus groups looking at reduced officer numbers.
“As a result a large-scale survey on demand, capacity and welfare was undertaken in 2016 to explore the relationships between officers’ experience of these sorts of demand and capacity pressures, and aspects of their overall welfare,” Che explained.
“After careful analysis, it is clear there are several links between demand and capacity, and the health and wellbeing of our officers. Within the current context of continuing austerity and the steady rise of recorded crime, it’s clear that the current situation is untenable and no force is immune from the results.
“Although there is a lot of excellent work being done to address the symptoms of poor officer welfare, there is little being done to address their causes; and unless we start focusing on reducing demand or improving capacity, officer wellbeing will not improve.”
The aim of the workshops is to gather ideas, develop practical solutions, and agree a set of shared recommendations with a broad range of stakeholders to try to address the issues raised by the Federation research.
Those attending will be concentrating on both the causes and effects of a demand and capacity imbalance; paying particular attention to discussions around measuring and balancing demand and capacity, as well as increasing the opportunities for welfare training and support.
The latest findings indicate that demand and capacity pressures have serious implications for the health and welfare of officers, and are contributing to the creation of a workforce that can be characterised as ‘tired, tense, and targeted’.
More specifically, officers who experienced any of the following 11 demand and capacity pressures were statistically more likely to experience poor wellbeing in one or more welfare aspects measured by the survey: