18 March 2021
Blog from Sussex Police Federation Deputy Chair Donna Lonsdale on the challenges facing police officers – and how the Federation can help if they need it.
The Police Service’s Response Policing Wellbeing & Resilience ‘Week of Action’ has been a perfect opportunity to reflect on the difficult job that police officers do every day.
The Sussex Police Federation team are spending this week supporting our response officers and reflecting on the impact policing a 24/7 role can have on their wellbeing.
We all know our members go above and beyond to look after the community they serve, they pride themselves on helping people and making a difference, however whilst they are protecting the community we have to ask, who is protecting them?
Our members are also members of their own communities, whether on duty or off duty they are part of that community, the difference is every police officer knows even off duty whether it’s a crime being committed or a risk of violence to members of the public they would be expected perform their role of a Constable. The Police Federation recognises this and their need to be supported themselves so that they are fit and well enough to do their job.
This week the Sussex Police Federation have provided our hard working response officers with a water bottle because we recognise how difficult it can be - either to have a hot or cold drink whilst dealing with incidents keeping it at that temperature in the expectation they will at some point have the opportunity to drink it.
This is just one thing, amongst a variety of options, we are working on, all with the goal of supporting our members and their wellbeing.
We would like to remind all of our members that it is normal to feel the strain. Officers are asked to deal with a large number of incidents, far too often they are violent or traumatic and the effects on officers themselves is often unseen or undiagnosed.
Our aim is to highlight that suffering from any mental trauma does not have a stigma attached to it, in fact it is absolutely normal for anybody to be personally affected when dealing with any traumatic events. Within Sussex Police there are a now number of mental health first aiders who will always take the time to sit down with you and talk things through. Sussex Police have an Occupational health department and our members can access this by asking for a referral anytime via you supervisor or you can contact EAP directly which is confidential.
I would personally like to take this opportunity to let our members know that they are not alone and that Sussex Police Federation are here and we can help and support you. We also have a Welfare Support Programme called the Defence Medical Welfare Service which the Federation office can utilise for any paying member to access.
I can’t underestimate the power of sitting down and chatting things through, a problem aired is a problem shared, so my plea to anybody reading this who is suffering is to reach out and contact us. We are confidential and here to get you the help you need.