Ahead of the launch of the National Police Wellbeing Service, President Paul Griffiths gives his thoughts on this important area of work.
“As an association with a vision to support and represent our members’ welfare, it has become more and more important for us to communicate just how crucial it is for the Police Service to prioritise the wellbeing of officers and staff.
Caring for our people is a key strand of our work, so I am delighted that this month sees the launch of the National Police Wellbeing Service, which will be hosted by the online platform ‘Oscar Kilo’.
Colleagues at all ranks speak passionately about their desire to do a good job, to help the public and their peers, and to make sure we’ve done absolutely everything we can, every time. No one could criticise this ethos – indeed, it’s what sits at the heart of policing.
It does however mean we find ourselves in a culture whereby ‘the norm’ is to push ourselves in terms of the hours we work and the responsibilities we take on. As Superintendents we often willingly take on the extra work required to get the job done, including volunteering for additional responsibilities and on-call to support our colleagues and teams. Long hours become the norm with our own wellbeing often ignored or bumped down the list.
This has been exacerbated with a membership reduction of 27% over 10 years and an ever increasing demand. Quite simply, we can’t ignore this anymore. Our last survey revealed the shocking reality of life as a Superintendent, with 75% of our officers saying that they typically worked more than 50 hours per week and 50% saying they felt signs of anxiety. The most recent survey results are due soon, but sadly, we are not expecting any significant improvement on the situation. The next set of results will be used to give us a clear picture of the psychological and physical demands being placed on our members and we will use the feedback to work with the NPCC to improve the care for our members and the wider Service.
Every police force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland including a further six non Home Office forces and organisations now subscribe to Oscar Kilo, an online platform for evidence based resources and guidance for emergency services staff. Every force has also adopted the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework, so clearly this is rising on the national agenda.
The fact that £7.5 million in funding from the Police Transformation Fund has been provided to help enhance welfare support, shows that action is happening. As a result of this, Oscar Kilo, has worked with the Home Office, the College of Policing and the NPCC to establish the National Police Wellbeing Service, and we are very proud to have played a key part in this.
Acting as a key stakeholder in the development of the project, we have represented our members, providing facts, information and feedback on the experiences being faced and real ways that as a service, we can respond.
What will the National Police Wellbeing Service do?
Oscar Kilo aims to provide support and guidance for all police forces to improve and build upon wellbeing within their organisation. Everything about it is sector specific and designed to meet the unique needs of policing.
It will deliver evidence-based approaches that prevent, detect and treat workplace health issues known to impact on employee wellbeing including physical, psychological and societal elements.
In real terms, this means forces can access practical support in key areas that we know are a priority such as; line management, dealing with trauma, major incident and disaster resilience, individual resilience and peer support.
This is such a positive move forward and a sign that voices are being heard. Wellbeing should not be something we consider ‘when we get time’, it should be a thread that runs through the culture of every workplace. As President, representing Superintendents dealing with the very highest levels of challenge and responsibility, this is key, and I will ensure that the Superintendents’ Association continues to play a central role in seeing real shifts towards this ethos across our service.”
For more information on the Framework, you can get in touch with the Oscar Kilo team via firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow them on Twitter @OscarKiloUK and on LinkedIn Oscar Kilo UK.