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Hampshire Police Federation

Mental Health of police officers should be a key priority for the Government

11 May 2022

The mental health of police officers should be a key priority for the Government, all police forces and all Police Federations.

That’s the message from Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoe Wakefield as she discussed the importance of Mental Health Awareness Week and police officers looking after themselves.

Zoe said: “The statistics are shocking in relation to the number of trauma incidents police officers attend compared to the public. Police officers attend 600-800 traumatic incidents compared to the general public who experience 4-6 in their lifetime.

“This is always going to have an impact especially when you factor in shift work, poor pay and negative stories in the media. All forces should be proactive in their approach by using tools such as psychological screening for all officers.

“Most forces do this now for specialist roles but it should be across the board with the relevant treatment and support in place when officers score highly.

“Locally as a Federation, we provide services such as float therapy and welfare breaks to our lodges at Sandy Balls Holiday Park. We also run a support group for police officers whose police officer partners suffer with PTSD. Sadly we have a good membership of this group. The upcoming Police Covenant will hopefully improve the mental health provision for police officers.”

According to a recent Police Federation survey, 69% of officers who responded reported they have experienced difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing over the last 12 months that were either caused or exacerbated by work.

Belinda Goodwin, Wellbeing Secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Within policing, the duty of care for our officers sits firmly with Chief Constables. Within their remit, they must prioritise occupational health and human resources.

“If our police officers are not physically and mentally supported this reflects on the delivery of our service to members of public. It is critical that wellbeing is placed above operational needs to in fact ensure the success of operational tasks.

She added: “How often as working adults do we wake up in the morning with slight aches and pains? But it is the same with our mental health. It is normal to feel differently from one day to another and nothing to feel ashamed of but take action when you feel it is impacting on your day-to-day life. Seek help at the earliest opportunity, like any physical injury, the sooner you get a diagnosis or support, the sooner you can start treatment and feel improvements.”

More about the wellbeing offered from Hampshire Police Federation can be seen here https://www.polfed.org/hants/your-wellbeing/