A ground-breaking National Police Wellbeing Service aimed at improving mental and physical health support for officers and staff is launching today (April 30).
The new service will include mental health outreach support for police officers and staff as well as training and toolkits to improve the provision in individual forces.
This service has been developed using a £7.5 million investment from the Home Office’s Police Transformation Fund, and has been overseen by the College of Policing working closely with the National Policing Lead for Wellbeing Chief Constable Andy Rhodes (Lancashire).
The service is being introduced after research found that officers and staff, particularly those in frontline roles, did not have the time or consistent access to local support for their mental or physical wellbeing.
Chief Constable Mike Cunningham, College of Policing CEO, said:
“Every day police officers and staff in England and Wales respond to difficult and often traumatic situations to keep the public safe, but such demands inevitably have an impact on their health and wellbeing and test their resilience.
“The launch of the National Police Wellbeing Service is an extremely positive move which demonstrates the renewed commitment across policing to provide officers and staff with the support they need and deserve.
“Enhancing the health, wellbeing and resilience of police officers and staff will not only be of great benefit to them but will also benefit the public by allowing the police workforce to operate as effectively as possible.” The National Police Wellbeing Service team has collaborated with wellbeing and healthcare experts from around the country and learned from police forces internationally, to ensure the service is evidence-based and tailored to meet the unique needs of police officers and staff.
The service will offer support for forces in areas such as dealing with trauma, major incidents and disaster resilience, psychological screening, peer support and the role of police leaders.
The service has also produced ‘Mindfit Cop’, an online course for officers and staff as one of several options that will be developed to help them manage their mental health.
For example, support is also being provided to forces so they can deliver individual resilience training and peer support networks directly to their officers and staff.
Officers and staff will also have the chance to get face-to-face access to experts in mental health and wellbeing through the ‘wellbeing vans’, which are part of Oscar Kilo’s outreach service available to every force in England and Wales.
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd, said:
“Police officers have an incredibly tough and demanding job and show extraordinary resilience and courage, often in the most challenging of circumstances, to keep us safe.
“Their physical and mental health is paramount and we take our responsibility to their wellbeing extremely seriously.
“I am delighted to see the launch of the National Wellbeing Service, which will provide police officers and staff with the help and support they need.”
Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, the NPCC lead for wellbeing said:
“We have made real progress in the last five years and with the development of this national service but we must continue do more – good mental and physical wellbeing is vital for effective policing.
“When the public are at their lowest point, they rely on us as the police to turn up and be professional and compassionate in their hour of need. We can only do this if our organisations treat us with compassion whilst providing our people with the support they need to develop personal resilience.
“Yes, there are financial and demand risks associated with not getting this right but it is the moral case for wellbeing that drives the work we are doing – it is our responsibility and obligation as an organisations and as leaders to look after the welfare of the men and women whose job it is to keep our communities safe.”
The National Police Wellbeing Service aims to:
- Reduce stigma around seeking support or help
- Improve knowledge, understanding of help and support available
- Encourage people to support themselves and realise their own potential
- Improve personal resilience and self-help skills
- Improve morale and engagement – how people feel at work
- Improve and build on the police service reputation as a good employer and a great place to work.
For more information about the National Police Wellbeing service, please visit www.oscarkilo.org.uk