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11 March 2020
Officers working on night shifts could be encouraged to take power naps to help overcome the effects of fatigue.
That is one of the things being explored by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), which has been overseeing research into officers’ sleeping patterns.
“We’re exploring the details around sleeping patterns and naps, and looking at how police officers can take power naps effectively, particularly during night shifts,” says Belinda Goodwin, PFEW wellbeing committee secretary.
“It is something that the NHS and the fire and rescue service have been successfully doing for a number of years. It’s exciting work which could have a real and positive impact on the wellbeing of our members.”
The Federation is working with Dr Paul Jackson, a psychologist specialising in driver impairment and fatigue risk, who gave a talk at the annual national conference in Birmingham in 2018 and wants to see the idea of power naps trialled in a number of pilot forces.
The nap, which would be taken as part of a meal break, should only be for 20 to 25 minutes with studies suggesting any benefits are negated if someone sleeps for longer.
“While some people might massively frown upon officers taking a nap, if conducted in a controlled way they could actually benefit officers’ performance,” says Belinda.
The Federation wants to make forces across the country aware of their responsibilities towards the wellbeing of their officers under all four pillars of welfare – physical, mental, financial and general.
Read more about fatigue including an interview with Dr Jackson in our April/May magazine which will be circulated from the end of March.