8 September 2021
Policing must take a closer look at preventative support for officers rather than waiting till they reach breaking point and stepping into help.
At the Emergency Services Show held at the NEC in Birmingham, PFEW Wellbeing Chair Hayley Aley explained to attendees that more must be done pre-emptively to support officer wellbeing and how the Federation is setting the stage.
Currently, forces do not hold any records on the number of traumatic incidents an officer has attended whilst on duty, explained Hayley.
She suggested forces should start to collect this data and use it to check up on the wellbeing of officers.
“Wouldn’t it be great if we knew that an officer had attended a series of traumatic incidents and how many they had been subjected to recently, because they implode on an officer’s mental health,” she said.
“If the organisation could work with that information, take the time to speak to the officer, check in and give them that support we would be pre-emptively tackling the problem. At the moment, no forces hold that data, and unless the individual asks for help, nobody knows they are struggling.”
The Federation has recently been piloting a scheme whereby check-ups are arranged with officers who balance their full-time policing job with acting as a Federation representative to support their colleagues. The check-ups aim to help identify potential stressors and offer helpful, practical advice to ensure they are coping with the demands of the Fed rep role.
So far it has been a successful pilot and the positive outcome demonstrates how this could also work effectively within forces for the benefit of officers' wellbeing.
Hayley added: “The support is growing for when things are broken and that is great, but now we have got to start putting out those messages around prevention.
“What we want to do is start this conversation more broadly throughout our membership about preventative measures and what they look like on a practical level.
“Our Welfare Support Programme is an amazing offering, and I would recommend you check it out whether you feel you are struggling and need help, or if you don’t, you may find it something helpful or useful to you in the future.”
The following support is provided by the WSP:
• Practical and mental support
• Clinical assessment and dedicated counselling
• Person-centred support (via telephone or face-to-face)
• Access to fully trained and accredited professionals
• Independent and confidential support
• Referrals to appropriate follow-on specialist support.
If you are a subscribing PFEW member and would like more information, please contact your local Federation branch.