Gwent Police Federation’s wellbeing lead has welcomed a National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) week of action aimed at recognising and celebrating the work of response police officers.
And Annalea Kift says she is particularly pleased that the NPCC is putting a special emphasis on officer wellbeing and that it wants to help raise awareness of the support that is available.
“Response policing can be challenging,” says Annalea, “It leads to repeated exposure to traumatic incidents and that can have a real impact on an officers’ mental wellbeing.
“In recent years, the Federation has talked about the need for more to be done not just to acknowledge the effect policing can have on officers mental health but also to promote the range of organisations that can offer specialist help and support.
“Officer wellbeing is being talked about more and more now, however, we also need to see real action too. It is not just a tick box exercise, officer wellbeing has to be at the heart of everything forces do. How can we expect police officers to serve and protect the public if they are not healthy and well supported themselves?”
The NPCC has worked with Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS), the College of Policing and the Police Federation to deliver a range of wellbeing and resilience initiatives, co-ordinated specifically for response officers’ needs, during this week.
Wellbeing vans will be deployed across the UK and wellbeing dogs will be available to some forces, along with a series of Oscar Kilo webinars around sleep, fatigue and resilience and toolkits for self-care and compassion.
A number of engagement opportunities for frontline officers will take place, including a #WECOPS response policing conversation with NPCC wellbeing lead Chief Constable Andy Rhodes and response policing lead Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy.
DCC Kennedy said: “The aim of the week of action is for response officers to be heard and valued, to see their workplace successes celebrated, to know that their wellbeing is important and to understand how and where to seek support when it is needed.
“These officers routinely face and deal with some of the most challenging and difficult situations in society. They are frequently the first on the scene whenever an incident occurs, and they are often the first and only contact that many ever have with the police service. It is only right that they feel supported in the work they do.
“I encourage all senior leaders in policing to get involved with this initiative and to ensure that every opportunity is taken to recognise and celebrate the incredible work these officers do every day”.
Chief Constable Rhodes added: “It is important to know that this is not just a one-off event; we want to use this week as an opportunity to let officers know that support is available to them and to their forces, all year round. The wellbeing of officers and staff is a priority for all police chiefs. We are always listening and support will always be there for those who need it.”