6 February 2018
Two local MPs have agreed that more needs to be done to provide better mental welfare support to officers in need.
Tiff Lynch, chair of Leicestershire Police Federation, recently met with Liz Kendall (Labour, Leicester West) and Nicky Morgan (Conservative, Loughborough) to discuss local policing issues.
Tiff spoke to them about the number of officers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and stress and how there is little available to officers in terms of continued specialist help.
She explained how seeing and experiencing traumatic incidents is seen as the norm and that there is a feeling officers should just get on with it, put it all behind them and move on. She said that for many officers the effects of witnessing and dealing with these traumatic incidents don’t surface straight the way and when they do, because there is limited specialist help, many are left unsupported for far too long.
Tiff explains: “It was great to meet with both these MPs and talk through some of the issues facing policing. Something they were both really interested in was the mental health and wellbeing of our officers. They weren’t aware that support and assistance for officers was picked up by the health service, through officers paying for charity based services such as Flint House or the Police Dependants’ Trust or by the Welfare Support Programme which is part funded by the Federation.
“They both agreed that more needs to be done to provide the long term medical support for officers and stated they were supportive of trying to get better specialist health care for officers.”
Ms Kendall said she would be asking at Prime Minister’s Questions for statistics on how many officers are shown to be off work or suffering through work-related mental health issues.
Tiff also requested that MPs show their support publicly for officers, whether that be on social media such as Facebook or Twitter, or in the mainstream media.
She said: “I want to see our local MPs speaking out in support of the work that the police do as the feedback I hear from officers is that MPs across all parties are really not interested in policing and the issues we face, which is contrary to what MPs are telling me.”
Also discussed with both MPs was neighbourhood policing – and they both stated they were appreciative of the work of Leicestershire officers, especially with their limited resources.
“Neighbourhood policing was something they were both very passionate about as this is what affects their constituents”, explains Tiff, “I had a discussion with both of them about how the current make-up of the Force and distribution of our limited officers meant that preventing and detecting crime was becoming increasingly difficult and, while they both want to see more officers on their beats, I was realistic with them – the days of police officers on every corner are long gone, our numbers are depleting and we have to make the best of what we have got," Tiff explained.
“I went on to say that more needs to be done looking towards a more positive future – a lifeline has been given this year to the Force but it has only come from increasing precept and we cannot rely on asking the public to continue to do this year on year. I stressed the Government needs to invest in the framework of policing as well as the specialist roles.”