Front-line review leads to wellbeing pledge
11 July 2019
The Home Office has vowed to embed wellbeing at the heart of policing and free up front-line officers’ time for core policing activities.
It comes as the report into last year’s Front-Line Review of policing, which puts forward six recommendations for reform, was launched by police minister Nick Hurd yesterday.
The Front-Line Review was announced by Home Secretary Sajid Javid when he spoke at last year’s Police Federation conference in Birmingham just weeks after taking up his new post.
“I think a lot of people were a little dubious as to whether the review would really engage with front-line officers and staff but it appears that it did. A total of 28 workshops were held in England and Wales with all 43 forces being involved. Officers were able to explain the realities of front-line policing and their feedback has been included in the report,” says Steve Grange, secretary of West Midlands Police Federation.
“Issues highlighted included the fall in officer numbers, the increase in demand, the general feeling of being undervalued, disconnection between the front-line and senior decision-makers and some scepticism about the new wellbeing agenda. So let’s hope the Home Office now acts on what it has been told.”
The police minister has pledged to act.
Mr Hurd said: “We wanted to hear directly from the front-line of policing and the messages were clear. The need for more people. The call to stop wasting police time. The desire for more of a say in the decisions that affect the front-line. The need for more time and support for both training and wellbeing.
“We have listened and now we are taking action with our partners to make sure police officers, staff and volunteers have the support they need, wherever they serve. This is on top of the increased investment to recruit more officers.”
The report’s recommendations include:
- New guidance empowering police to push back against responding to inappropriate requests for attendance, often health or welfare-related, and where the police have neither the right skills or powers to respond.
- A commitment to look into shift patterns with a view to give officers more time for wellbeing, as well as personal and professional development.
- Bringing police chiefs and their staff together to find solutions to the front-line’s frustrations over internal bureaucracies, including administration and inefficiencies, to free up time; and
- National Inspections assessing how well forces promote staff wellbeing.
John Apter, national Federation chair, has called for all stakeholders to work together to ensure the recommendations prioritise mental health and well-being.
He explained: “I see this Front-Line Review as the start of something which must make a positive difference. The success or failure of that will depend on the Government’s will to push this through.”
Led by Mr Hurd, the research team partnered with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to hold the review workshops and gather evidence on a wide range of issues affecting the working lives of officers, staff and volunteers with key themes including wellbeing, professional development, leadership and innovation.
Progress against the recommendations will be assessed next year. The report.