This Mental Health Awareness Week, the Police and Crime Commissioner is continuing the focus on wellbeing within West Mercia Police.
A recent University of Cambridge study found that 95% of officers and 67% of operational police staff, from the 17,000 surveyed nationally had been exposed to traumatic events, almost all of which were work-related.
The Commissioner is keen to recognise this, and ensure that adequate, tailored support is in place for those affected. By holding the Chief Constable to account, he has scrutinised the overall approach to wellbeing, and ensured that improvements have been made.
The improved approach not only includes the specialist support for those affected by PTSD and other mental health related issues, but a range of other schemes and initiatives, such as a travelling wellbeing bus where free health check-ups can be accessed, Backup Buddy a free app with 24 hour support and advice, peer supporters trained by the charity Mind, multi-faith chaplaincy and critical incident debriefs focused around the impact on officers and staff.
Further to this, the Commissioner leads the Behind the Badge campaign, encouraging the public to understand that emergency workers are human. This particularly relates to reducing assaults on duty, which can have a detrimental impact not only physically but mentally.
Commissioner John Campion “Those on the frontline, bravely and consistently run towards danger and it is recognised that this will have an impact on wellbeing. I am committed to supporting the force in addressing this issue, and I welcome the range of specialist and tailored, preventative and support measures in place. There is always more we can do, however, and as Commissioner I will continue to scrutinise and support these kind of initiatives, whilst ensuring the police are well resourced to deal with the challenges they face on a day to day basis.”
West Mercia Police Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said: “Each and every day our officers put themselves in harm’s way in order to care for the communities they serve. In turn, we take our responsibility to look after their wellbeing incredibly seriously. It’s something we are passionate about ensuring we get right and we’ve already rolled out some new initiatives and we have developed additional support structures and networks that will be launching in the coming months.”
Issued: Monday 13th May 2019