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16 March 2021
The chair of Hertfordshire Police Federation says a week-long initiative to acknowledge and celebrate the work of response police officers has come at a ‘crucial time for policing’.
Geoff Bardell was speaking after the launch yesterday (15 March) of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Response Policing Wellbeing and Recognition ‘Week of Action’ which aims to make officers aware of the resources that are available to support them with any wellbeing concerns.
He said: “Police officer welfare has always been a priority for us and none more so than at the moment when our members have been on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus for a year.
“Many of them are on the brink of burn-out now and I fear the fall-out from the pandemic is going to be huge for long-term officer wellbeing. We may be at the start of a very tricky mental health journey so I’m pleased this initiative has been set up and, in my view, it has come at a crucial time for policing.”
The NPCC has worked with Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS), the College of Policing and the Police Federation to deliver a range of wellbeing and resilience initiatives, co-ordinated specifically for response officers’ needs, during this week.
Wellbeing vans will be deployed across the UK and Geoff and Federation branch secretary Al Wollaston will be meeting up with the Oscar Kilo and Force wellbeing teams during the week.
Wellbeing dogs will also be available to some forces, along with a series of Oscar Kilo webinars around sleep, fatigue and resilience and toolkits for self-care and compassion.
A number of engagement opportunities for frontline officers will take place, including a #WECOPS response policing conversation with NPCC wellbeing lead Chief Constable Andy Rhodes and response policing lead Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy.
DCC Kennedy said: “The aim of the week of action is for response officers to be heard and valued, to see their workplace successes celebrated, to know that their wellbeing is important and to understand how and where to seek support when it is needed.
“These officers routinely face and deal with some of the most challenging and difficult situations in society. They are frequently the first on the scene whenever an incident occurs, and they are often the first and only contact that many ever have with the police service. It is only right that they feel supported in the work they do.
“I encourage all senior leaders in policing to get involved with this initiative and to ensure that every opportunity is taken to recognise and celebrate the incredible work these officers do every day”.
Chief Constable Rhodes added: “It is important to know that this is not just a one-off event; we want to use this week as an opportunity to let officers know that support is available to them and to their forces, all year round. The wellbeing of officers and staff is a priority for all police chiefs. We are always listening and support will always be there for those who need it.”