8 February 2023
A wellbeing toolkit has been developed especially for investigators, and is designed to provide members with continuous mental health support while building their resilience.
It has been created by the national wellbeing of investigators’ group, working closely with a number of organisations including Oscar Kilo and the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), to support investigators, their line managers and senior leaders from forces across the country.
The aim of the toolkit is to act as an easily accessible and live document that outlines a number of interventions that can take place to protect the wellbeing of investigators while ensuring they feel heard, valued and know where to seek support if they need it.
Cambridgeshire Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Brunning, National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for investigator wellbeing, said: “While most detectives and investigators will get support locally, this toolkit is designed to provide national signposts for members.
“The toolkit is a resource for everyone, whether they are an investigator themself, or a colleague who wants to provide support to their peers.”
The intervention techniques included in the toolkit include building personal resilience and leadership, protecting and preparing the workforce, along with creating the environment and mental health.
“The truth is the thing that really impacts investigators is the stigma. People feel they have to just get on with it, when in fact, it’s fundamental that they speak out. If they don’t speak out, it could be detrimental to their career,” added Sarah-Jayne Bray, project manager of the Recruitment Retention and Wellbeing of Investigators (RRWI) who supported Martin in developing the toolkit.
“And even when they’re away from the job, they’re still worrying. It’s not only how to help colleagues, but people need to know the signs of burn-out too. As we all know, it’s not always about the initial trauma, but it’s continuous trauma that really impacts investigators - and being regularly exposed to damaging situations.
“This really is all about looking after the teams around us, as well as the families of investigators, and preventing their wellbeing from being damaged any further.”
The creation of the toolkit was prompted by the national crisis of detective numbers, which was highlighted in 2018.
To help create the toolkit, the wellbeing of investigators’ group used research from Durham University’s 2019 wellbeing survey, which revealed investigators experience the lowest levels of wellbeing across policing and particularly suffer from a loss of emotional energy.
Martin continued: “The toolkit shows readers how they can embed proven wellbeing interventions, regardless of rank, and signposts people in direction of additional support and resource if they need it.”
The toolkit was officially launched during last year’s ‘National Investigator Week of Action’, which take place annually and is designed to raise awareness of the importance of providing essential support for investigators and their colleagues.
During the week, a number of informative webinars take place, with multiple investigators sharing their personal stories by way of supporting others. The 2022 Week of Action saw more than 1,500 investigators participate from across the UK, tripling engagement from 2021.
“We’re hoping to create a peer support network within and across forces, and to make that easier, we’re providing action plans for colleagues to get inspiration from,” Sarah-Jayne ended.
“And we’re always looking for feedback too, as well as ideas and new ways of working. After all, wellbeing is for life, it’s not just a temporary issue.”
Visit the Oscar Kilo website to access the wellbeing of investigators toolkit.