27 June 2023
Derbyshire Police Federation has welcomed the appointment of a chief medical officer to deliver key health and wellbeing requirements of the Police Covenant.
John Harrison, national chief medical officer for policing, has taken up the role which sits within the National Police Wellbeing Service, Oscar Kilo, and the College of Policing. He says he intends to end the “postcode lottery” of provision.
Federation chair, Tony Wetton, commented: “The introduction of the Police Covenant was a huge achievement for the Federation and came after years of lobbying government to recognise the sacrifices made by police officers and acknowledge the toll the job can take on individuals’ mental and physical health. As a society, we should look after those who serve.
“I am delighted that somebody as senior and respected as John Harrison will be driving this work forward and giving effect to the covenant. Derbyshire Federation will look to feed into this process as the voice of rank-and-file police officers.”
John has worked in the NHS as an occupational physician and is a former chief medical officer of Devon and Cornwall Police. His latest challenge will be to ensure consistent policies across all 43 Forces of England and Wales.
New chief medical officer for the Police Covenant, John Harrison
He said: “One of my goals is to focus on pulling together a network of people to support and operationalise a national agenda, so all forces can roll out the same policies and ways of working.
“I want to change the narrative around occupational policing, not only for our officers but so that we can recruit better too. I think policing is a very exciting place to work and I want to help other healthcare professionals see that.”
John's priorities also include clinical governance, making sure that everything being done within policing in relation to the health of officers, is done safely.
“It’s so important that police forces are looking after their people properly. I’m here to not only help the organisation but to help officers too,” he added.
The Federation’s national wellbeing lead Belinda Goodwin said having a chief medical officer with a good understanding of the NHS and policing, is a good result.
“I see him bridging the gap between the health service and the police force, building those essential partnerships to ensure the physical and mental health of our officers is a priority for all forces,” she said.
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