Police Federation warns ‘more needs to be done’ on welfare
The Police Federation has warned ‘more needs to be done sooner’ to improve police welfare, after the Government launched a new shared wellbeing goal.
By signing up to the shared goal, police forces pledge to create a culture in forces that focuses on early intervention to help officers and staff.
Forces that sign up must also provide key forms of assistance – including occupational health and effective line management – and signposts to other providers, including police charities, which can support officers or staff facing specific challenges.
The wellbeing pledge has been developed by the Home Office in conjunction with partners in policing and has received the backing of the mental health charity Mind.
“This goal represents a real step towards police leaders ensuring every member of their force feels valued and supported, but it won’t solve the issue by itself, action must follow,” said Police Minister Nick Hurd.
The Vice-Chair of the Police Federation, Ché Donald agreed the goal is “a positive step forward to improving the welfare support available to officers up and down the country”.
“I am positive that we are making progress and we have a shared vision in place for the future of police welfare but more needs to be done sooner to ensure that all forces have appropriate and consistent welfare provisions in place to look after the people who we rely on to keep us safe,” added Mr Donald.
“Chiefs should be investing in their current welfare provisions regardless, cost is no excuse. If you think welfare provision is expensive, it pales in comparison to the cost of sickness.”
“Resilience in the police service is at an all-time low – with unprecedented cuts and officers being asked to do more with fewer resources – it’s no surprise that this is having an overwhelming negative impact on their health and wellbeing.
“Findings from our demand, capacity and welfare survey revealed that a concerning 80% of officers said they suffered from stress, low mood and anxiety. 92% of which said their psychological difficulties had been caused or made worse by work.
“Police officers are exposed to horrific things on a daily basis which undoubtedly have a significant impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Things that others wouldn’t even experience in a lifetime. But because ‘it’s their job’ it seems there is an expectation for them to brush it off – but police officers are not immune and early intervention and support is crucial in ensuring their long-term welfare and the overall sustainability of our police service,” added the Police Federation Vice-Chair.
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