National Police Wellbeing Service extends Psychological Risk Assessment Programme

Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service (OK NPWS) has extended its Psychological Risk Assessment Programme, meaning it will be able to offer online psychological risk assessments to another 6000 police officers and staff across the country.

Since the initial stage of the programme was launched in early 2020, OK NPWS has carried out assessments for almost 2000 officers and staff across 43 forces. ‘Structured interviews’ were also undertaken for officers and staff across 15 forces, and further, more in-depth psychological assessment support was provided for officers and staff in 11 forces.

What is the Psychological Risk Assessment Programme?

This programme is designed to help police forces across the UK improve the mental health support they offer to officers and staff. The online psychological risk assessment is a way of identifying where someone may be in need of support.

Following on from the initial roll out, OK NPWS is now looking to offer assessments for a further 6000 officers and staff in roles that have been assessed as holding the highest risk of psychological impact. For the initial roll out, the assessments were offered to people in the following roles: Hostage and Crisis Negotiators; Paedophile Online Investigation (POLIT) and Internet Child Abuse (ICAT); Serious Collision Investigation (SCIU) and Force Collision Investigation (FCIU); Family Liaison Officers – Traffic; and Family Liaison Officers – Crime.

This list has also been extended and will now cover those in: Violent and Sex Offender Register (VISOR) Teams; Offender Management Teams; Digital Forensics Teams (DFT); Counter Terrorism Units; Firearms Officers; and Disaster Victim Identification Teams.

How do the assessments work?

The assessments are made available via Occupational Health Services in each force. People will be identified and invited to take part by their local Occupational Health Service.

The assessment is in the form of an online questionnaire that has been developed to understand a person’s resilience and ability to deal with the emotional demands of their role. When someone completes an assessment, it is analysed by a clinician who will then be able to determine what further support, if any, is required for that person. It will then be determined whether that person needs any further intervention, if they would benefit from a ‘structured interview’ or if they need other psychological interventions or support.

It is recommended that assessments are carried out annually to identify clinical conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD and burnout. OK NPWS will also continue to provide training for Occupational Health professionals in how to effectively use the assessment and carry out structured interviews. Guidance is also provided to assist with the identification of need for further assessment and/or treatment and support.