Police Federation

Blog: "No-one is invincible"

30 November 2020

Gemma Fox, Roads Policing Lead

Gemma Fox, Roads Policing Lead

Sharing the load can make the world of difference to you and your colleagues - in every respect but especially when it come to dealing with the difficult and often harrowing nature of policing.

How do we even begin to process trauma? My focus for this month has been on the mental health of our roads policing officers, for whom dealing with trauma can be an almost daily occurrence.

The personal experiences, statistics and research we have shared this month reinforces why our Hear 'Man Up', Think 'Man Down’ campaign is so important. The campaign is about recognising the signs when you or your colleagues are struggling. It is about changing attitudes, reaching out early to avoid pain and stress spiralling out of control. If we can get one person to seek support before it all gets too much, then the campaign has been worth it.

I am indebted to the inspirational officers that have shared their stories. We’ve heard from Sergeant Scott Lee-Amies and PC Andy Smith - who shared first-hand experience how difficult the role is - and I know that the personal struggles that we have featured will go a long way to helping others. I know many could relate to going through the motions - thinking that they are coping, when they are not.

We heard about Lancashire Constabulary’s ‘gold standard’ approach to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of officers in high risk roles like roads policing. Their approach towards generating a culture of people talking to each other in groups – teammates who work together daily, is paying dividends. Like-minded, like-experienced officers are benefiting from taking part in deep discussions on topics that may not be spoken of in normal circumstances.

The responsibility that comes with being a Family Liaison Officer was a difficult read but DC Thomas shared why he wouldn’t change what he does – and that is helping someone in their darkest hour. Not an easy job and not one that you can leave at the door.

Peer support was the thread that ran through all content for the month. It’s something we all need, and my colleague Steve Taylor gave insight from a supervisor’s point of view and the need to be in the best place mentally for the sake of themselves and their team.

My sincere thanks to everyone who shared and contributed to our focus on roads – especially to Police Care UK’s Dr Jess Miller who took the time to share her insight and wise counsel on personal resilience.

This past month has been incredibly thought provoking – trauma affects us all differently and no-one is invincible. Talking is priceless and sharing the strains, stresses and anxieties of the job goes a long way in looking after each other’s mental health. Together we are stronger.

Gemma Fox
Roads Policing Lead, PFEW

#RoadsPolicing #ManUpManDown #PoliceWelfare

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