For the first time, police officers serving as Public Protection leads, are benefitting from a bespoke Public Protection and Safeguarding (PPS) Leaders Programme to support them in their work, thanks to the work of the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) and the College of Policing.
Roles leading Public Protection and Safeguarding are among the most demanding in policing. These are roles managing extraordinary levels of vulnerability and risk, much of which is ‘hidden’, so senior leaders working in this area rely on multi-agency, coordinated work to deliver responsibilities.
This high-level, sensitive area of work includes work around missing persons, hate crime and domestic abuse, and involves dealing with vulnerable victims and witnesses as well as potentially dangerous people. For officers and staff faced with the trauma of working in this field, there is also therefore the real risk of significant psychological impact.
During his time on the National Team, former President of the PSA, Gavin Thomas, began to explore the potential for enhanced support, training and development opportunities for police officers in these roles.
In-depth consultation was carried out with PSA members, which involved the hosting of workshops across the regions, to really understand the pressures and challenges faced with this work, and to create a clear picture of the training and support being provided across forces.
Gavin’s evidence formed a critical part of the evidence base for the PPS Leaders Programme. A College of Policing Team, led by Supt Paul Clements, Met Police Head of Safeguarding in North East London, has led the design of the Programme, supported by practitioners across the country and the PSA’s national team.
This week saw the first cohort of participants, made up of existing and prospective PPS Leaders from forces across the country, begin their 6-month development programmes at the College of Policing in Ryton.
On 1st July, 18 PPS Leads began a 3-day input, which was opened by PSA President Paul Griffiths, taking part in sessions on topics such as managing risk, managing performance and welfare and wellbeing.
Paul Clements confirmed “Public Protection and Safeguarding is uniquely challenging both in terms of risk and complexity.
“The PPS Leaders Programme gives senior officers and staff working in this field the confidence and competence to succeed in these critical roles. I’m indebted to PSA members, experienced safeguarding practitioners for giving up their time to help me develop the programme.
“The curriculum focuses on how best to manage vulnerability risk, how to manage performance in Public Protection, and crucially, how to put in place the strategies to make sure we protect our colleagues working on teams where we know there is a significant risk of psychological harm. We will also be hearing from key strategic partners including directors of children’s services, Ofsted and the National Crime Agency.”