26 July 2022
Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS), is there to provide support and guidance for all police forces to improve and build upon wellbeing within their organisation. Their services have been developed for policing by policing and they are designed to meet the unique needs of officers and staff.
In 2019, the first National Police Wellbeing survey identified that 45 per cent of police officers and 30 per cent of police staff reported sleeping less than 6 hours per night, very often or all of the time, over the three months preceding the survey. Those working shifts indicated more frequently experiencing poor sleep quality, with 27 per cent of police officers and 25 per cent of police staff reporting disturbed sleep. Subsequent national surveys in 2020 and 2021 continued to reveal high levels of fatigue.
As a result, Oscar Kilo are working with leading experts in the field and have begun a series of programmes designed to support officers and staff.
The SAFER programme (Sleep, Alertness and Fatigue in Emergency Responders) was created to increase knowledge of sleep health and sleep hygiene, and to identify those who may be at risk of a sleep disorder. It also includes methods for managing fatigue and shift work schedules. This is currently in talks to be developed as an online resource.
The Fatigue and Shift Working Risk Management Strategy is being conducted with experts from Washington State University and utilises a training intervention to improve health and wellbeing by improving sleep and reducing fatigue levels. Statistics from initial studies showed significant improvements in both sleep quality and quantity, along with increased sleep satisfaction, elimination of dozing at the wheel incidents, reductions in nightmares, daytime sleepiness, constant tiredness, trouble sleeping, hypervigilance and sleep disturbances. Further studies are ongoing.
Oscar Kilo have also teamed up with The Sleep Scientist, Dr Sophie Bostock, to create a Better Sleep Toolkit, accessible to anyone working in policing via the Oscar Kilo website. This is aimed at supporting police officers, staff and volunteers with fatigue and sleep problems. The online toolkit consists of a four-week better sleep course, a series of webinars and some bite-sized advice to help improve sleep and overall wellbeing.
If you are interested and would like to sign up or get more information, please visit the Oscar Kilo website Better sleep toolkit | Oscar Kilo. The next webinar that will take place will be on Mental Health Day, 10 October, and will focus on sleep and mental health. Further dates will be publicised in due course.