Response officers work in incredibly demanding roles and regularly see the very best and the very worst of humanity, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) wellbeing lead.
And Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, speaking as the NPCC launched a week of action on Monday to recognise and celebrate the work of response police officers, said it was important that they were properly supported.
“These officers have told us, through national surveys and through their own forces, that wellbeing, resilience and fatigue are big issues that they are facing. We want them to know that we are here to help, and during this week of action, a range of resources created specifically with response officers in mind will be made available across the country,” he explained.
“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.”
South Wales Police Federation chair Steve Treharne has welcomed the initiative and hopes that it leads to a continued and consistent emphasis on officer wellbeing across the Force.
“The wellbeing of our police officers is at the heart of everything we do,” says Steve, “They work tirelessly to serve and protect their communities but that becomes impossible if they are struggling with their own mental health.
“The pandemic has put forces under immense pressure for a year now as they continued to do their best to provide the usual public service while implementing Government lockdown restrictions. Officers need to know now, more than ever, that support is available if they are concerned in any way about their mental wellbeing and the Federation is always happy to assist and get officers any help they need.”
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 Chief Constable Rhodes and NPCC 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”.