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Norfolk Police Federation

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek: Investment is required by forces into officers’ health and wellbeing

11 May 2022

“Investment is required by forces into officers’ health and wellbeing. We’ve seen improvements but it’s nowhere near enough or consistent”

To mark #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, Norfolk Police Federation Chair Andy Symonds discusses the challenges facing Police Officers.

Andy states: “Officers place themselves in harm’s way both physically and mentally therefore the services available to them should be a first-class service. But we’re a long way from this.

“The Police Covenant is an important step which I hope and expect to become law very soon which will put the provision of officers both serving and retired on a legal footing so that the Government and forces can be held to account in terms of the provision they supply to officers.

“Locally we have seen a big improvement but we’re working with the force to improve the offer further and to introduce other mental health treatments.

“We have wellbeing champions in force, TRiM for officers who’ve attended a traumatic incident, our local workplace Fed Reps are trained on mental health first aid and suicide awareness. So when we have officers that require support we can help them and signpost them to the specialist support they require.

“We have referred a number of officers onto the Federation’s Welfare Support Programme. This gives access to counsellors and therapists to help officers struggling with their mental health. We are also attempting to get a system in place which accurately records the many traumatic incidents officers attend during their career.

“At the moment this is hit and miss and we know that the constant exposure to traumatic incidents catches up on officers over time. So, investing in officers’ wellbeing is a must and will in turn reduce the amount of time they are off sick.

“I encourage officers to look after each other on shift. Colleagues are often the first to see the change in friends and colleagues. Ask how they are and if they need help speak to a supervisor or the Federation who can help.”