Cumbria Police Federation

Response Policing Wellbeing and Resilience Week - a view from the Federation

15 March 2021

Response officers are the frontline of policing and face immense pressures, Cumbria Police Federation has said, as the first Response Policing Wellbeing and Resilience Week begins.

Response Policing Wellbeing and Resilience Week is taking place from 15-22 March, supported by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). Response policing equates to 26% of UK policing.

Cumbria Police Federation Secretary Jamie McTear said: “Response officers are the frontline of policing. They’re the first at incidents, they have to deal with what they find, and on many occasions, unfortunately, these are horrific incidents that put pressures on an officer’s emotional resilience. 

“These incidents vary from domestic violence and incidents involving vulnerable members of the public to road traffic collisions with serious injuries and fatalities. They have to deal with incident and then respond to the next that could be equally harrowing but they do so with the utmost professionalism and compassion.  

“We’ve seen, year on year over the past five years, increases in police absences as a result of mental ill health, stress and anxiety. So recognising that the role requires extra wellbeing support will go some way to helping to stop officers falling over, catching them before that happens.”

Jamie said there was likely to be even more pressure on response officers as lockdown was eased: “Their job is 24/7. They are the knights in shining armour for members of the public who have called for help, as victims of crime or road traffic incidents. They don’t know what they’re going to and they have to spontaneously deal with the incident there and then. I think as the night-time economy opens up again it’s going to increase the stress and pressure on response cops.”

He said that response officers should look out for support and events put on by the force throughout the week, and he added that the force has introduced Wellbeing and Performance Inspectors as a point of contact for officers. Cumbria Constabulary has recognised the need for better wellbeing support for officers and staff and officers should take advantage of the services available through Occupational Health.   

In addition, Oscar Kilo, the national police wellbeing service, is providing resources, webinars and podcasts – on themes including resilience, self care and better sleep – via its website. It will also provide a guide that officers can keep with them to help them spot signs and symptoms when things might be wrong.