Police wellbeing is the focus of a new goal launched this month by the Home Office, in conjunction with partners in policing and mental health.
Partners who developed the goal pledge to work together to boost the welfare support available to police officers and staff in England and Wales over the next three years.
The Home Secretary was clear in his speech to the Police Federation in May that he wanted to ‘totally transform the welfare provision’ for police. The goal announced on 3 July represents the result of six months of engagement by the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service with policing partners and health experts, and sets out a shared vision for ensuring police officers and staff have the support they need to flourish.
The minister has joined major policing groups, including the Police Federation, National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), and the College of Policing, in drawing up the new goal, which has also received the backing of Mind, the mental health charity that provides support to over half a million people in England and Wales.
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said, “We have heard the message that police welfare support must improve. Officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public, so it’s vital the government and chief officers have their back. 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.”
By signing up to the goal, police leaders pledge to create a culture in forces that focuses on early intervention to help officers and staff. The goal also demands that forces 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 goal complements existing funding from the government to improve the tools and resources available to police officers and staff.
The former Home Secretary awarded £7.5m to the College of Policing in July 2017 over three years to pilot and, if successful, fund a dedicated national welfare service. The funding covers a mapping project that will provide a clearer picture of the welfare needs of police forces across England and Wales.
The government has also awarded £7m to Mind to fund their Blue Light Wellbeing Programme – which provides mental health support to members of the emergency services – and £1.5m to the Police Treatment Centre in Harrogate, which treats police officers suffering from illness or injury.