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Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Welfare vans praised at Police Federation Conference

10 October 2023

Welfare vans have been praised for bringing about significant wellbeing improvements for officers on mutual aid at the Police Federation of England and Wales conference.

Forces now benefit from 16 vans around the country, with some forces having two, and they are making a big difference to officer wellbeing at mutual events, crime scenes and road traffic collisions, the conference heard today (10 October).

They vary in standard; some have a TV, grill and “costa-level” coffee facilities, others are more basic, but they all receive a warm reception, representatives said.

Richie Murray, PFEW Deputy Health and Safety lead, said: “Welfare vans are a thing of the future…They give the officer somewhere to go. I’ve been on scene on a bridge and there were no facilities and you can’t be stood down or when you are relieved you have to travel half an hour to facilities before coming back.

“So we decided to raise these vans and look at the potential of what these vans can do. And one of the bigger ones was Cop 26. We deployed probably about seven vans and they were situated from Glasgow to Edinburgh and they were called upon and rightly so went down really well with the Scottish Federation as well as the local Federations that were there. They went down a treat. We got letters back. In policing, you’re always criticised on a lot of things you do but never rewarded. So it's really nice when you get letters back from the Scottish Police Federation and the Scottish police themselves to say “Thank you very much. It was really good”. It was the same with the Metropolitan during the summer at the Queen's funeral.”

Steve Taylor, PFEW Operational Policing Lead, added: “It shouldn't be the Federation that provides them but what you can't deny is when we do provide them, it helps put the well being and welfare of our officers during deployment front and centre into the mindset of operations…The fact is when we do deploy them, they do have a positive impact.”