16 April 2020
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has produced a special video to provide further advice for officers and help them care for their mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.
It has sought the help of Dr Jess Miller, a neuropsychologist and director of research at Police Care UK, a charity for serving and retired police officers, staff, volunteers and their families.
In the video, Dr Miller talks with PFEW vice-chair Ché Donald about the extraordinary job officers are being asked to do and she offers expert advice about how they can deal with the difficult situations and feelings they are facing up to.
The Federation hopes Dr Miller’s practical advice for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic will help front-line officers as they come across some very new challenges.
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton says the 20-minute video offers some very practical advice which can genuinely benefit officers.
“This is such an important time for us as a Federation, on a national and local level, to give as much support as we can to our members,” says Tony. “It’s crucial to let our members know they are not alone.
“Officers are being called out to deal with more and more deaths because of the coronavirus and this repeat exposure can have a seriously detrimental effect on their mental health.
“Officers are human like the rest of us and it would be wrong to expect them to go out day after day with a global pandemic going on all around them and not expect them to be anxious and worried about the dangers to their own health and that of their families and colleagues.
“Dr Miller’s techniques to combat feelings of being overwhelmed and holding onto negative memories could be really useful.”
Ché added: “Police officers operate in a pressure cooker environment and are exposed to all sorts of trauma from helping victims of domestic violence to road traffic collisions – the list is endless. That’s standard policing. But we are now in unprecedented times.
“We also watch the news every night and see the death toll which naturally brings on anxiety about the safety of their families. The thought of bringing the virus home to loved ones at the end of a shift is terrifying. These fears and anxieties are echoed by the public.”
Ché concluded: “It is crucial to remember you are not in this alone and these experiences and feelings are felt by all even though some may be better at hiding this.
“The Federation will continue to support members through this incredibly difficult period, making sure their voices are heard and ensuring they receive the right protection to keep themselves and the public safe."
A recent study headed by Dr Miller revealed more than one in five police officers are currently suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).