90 days from today is Sat, 03 October 2020
13 May 2020
The Federation backed Welfare Support Programme (WSP) will provide invaluable support to police officers in the front-line dealing with the coronavirus pandemic over the weeks and months ahead, according to Dave Hadley, West Midlands Police Federation’s deputy discipline secretary.
Dave, who is the Federation’s contact point for the WSP, says that while there has not yet been a marked increase in demand on the programme due to COVID-19 issues it will be there should officers need extra support.
“In terms of the effects of the pandemic, it’s still early on but it's a worrying time for everyone on the front-line. There will be officers experiencing some awful things in their professional and personal lives as the weeks go by and it’s important they know that the Federation has support on offer for them in the form of the WSP; they don't need to suffer alone,” says Dave.
Earlier this year the Police Federation of England and Wales doubled its funding to the WSP which is operated through the Police Firearms Officers’ Association.
The programme is staffed day and night by professionals trained in police discipline and with an awareness of Post-Incident Procedures and mental health first aid.
Officers or their close family members can be referred to the service by a Federation rep and, if needed, given access to counsellors and coaches.
Steve Hartshorn, operational policing lead for the Federation, said: “I’m pleased to confirm that the WSP is running normally during this time. If anything, it’s more needed than ever. We’re seeing officers exposed to more deaths, particularly around COVID-19, and the stress of increased hours and staffing other reliefs, as colleagues are taken ill or self-isolate as a precaution.
“Police officers are human just like everyone else and when you are going through added stress at work and you’re unable to see your nearest and dearest it can be tough; not to mention if your household has lost income due to a partner’s work drying up.”
Steve called the WSP an ‘enormously important resource’ for members, adding: “To have access to trained professionals who can listen and provide non-judgemental, objective advice can be a lifeline – and in fact the service has already saved several lives. That’s why the Federation has put serious financial resources behind it.”
Officers can access the WSP via Dave, their local workplace rep or the Federation branch.