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Sussex Police Federation

Sussex Police Federation supporting our Response Policing colleagues

16 March 2021

Sussex Police Federation says a week-long awareness campaign aimed at highlighting the work of response officers will help them get the recognition they deserve.

The Response Policing Wellbeing and Recognition ‘Week of Action’ will encourage response officers in the force to seek help and support if they need it and to take some time to review their roles and the great impact they have on their local communities.

Sussex Police Federation Deputy Chair Donna Lonsdale said it’s important to recognise the really difficult job our response officers do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are the first responders and at the forefront of policing, as well as the additional work of policing COVID-19 rules and regulations, so the week, starting on 15th March, is the perfect time to acknowledge what they do, she added.

“Response officers can sometimes be taken for granted, so we need to remind ourselves and the public of the difficult and often dangerous role they do to keep the public safe and bring criminals to justice”. Donna said.

“Obviously the last year has shown just how resilient they are, especially given the difficult times they’ve faced with the law changing every few weeks and having to keep themselves constantly up to date.

“I think this week is going to be really important because we are acknowledging the hard work that they do, they are the face of Sussex Police and the ones that people engage with more than anyone else.”

“Every day they go on duty, they have no idea what they will be doing on that day, they could have one interaction, and it could be the first time that they’ve interacted with a member of the public who has had absolutely no involvement whatsoever with the police before.

“That small interaction could completely change that person’s view of the police and could leave them feeling far more positive.

“Response Week is an opportunity to reflect about the positive side of the Response role, the opportunities to really make a difference to the community and how important it is to do so.
It’s a chance for response officers themselves to take a breath for a moment and think about their role, why it’s so unique and the rewarding aspects taken from doing their job.

“To support officers behind the scenes Sussex Police are developing a trauma tracker system, it could be via an app helping response officers to identify in themselves things that they’ve struggled with; it doesn’t matter what incident it is, it could be something that in the grand scheme of things is relatively small but actually could be a trigger point. It would enable them to then log, ‘I think this is causing me a few problems’ then the organisation and ourselves can support our members at the earliest opportunity.”

That latter point is an important one for Donna, who wants members to realise that the Federation is not just there to help with misconduct or disciplinary issues.

She adds: “The Federation aren’t just there for when you are being investigated. I would like to ensure that all our members are aware of the support and confidentiality we can provide from a sit down and a coffee to professional support via our welfare support programme, the wellbeing of our members is at the forefront of everything we do ” Donna said.

“It’s about saying to them, ‘If that’s what you need and then just make contact with us. We will always be there to support you. Nothing you ever feel is insignificant.”

To show their support and recognition for response officers Donna and the Sussex Federation are distributing special reusable water bottles to every response officer in Sussex, it is to highlight the importance of recognising response officers sacrifice and to thank them for all their hard work, “We’re just doing it to say thank you,” she said.

“I know there are some webinars that have been done centrally through the PFEW, but it’s just trying to make sure we can do something to acknowledge the work that response officers do but also to recognise they are a 24/7 service and sitting down and watching a webinar might not be practical for them in the role that they do.”