Government prioritises well-being and mental health of police officers and staff in new support package

The Government and the police watchdog – namely Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) – will work together to put the well-being and mental health of staff and officers at the heart of policing following a landmark review. The Front Line Review has seen the Home Office engage directly with officers and staff for more than a year. The Home Office is now publishing everything it has heard from the front line alongside introducing a package of new measures which aims to transform the support given to them.

The support includes plans to work with HMICFRS to embed well-being into the culture of policing through inspecting forces.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our world-leading police keep us safe in the most challenging of circumstances, so it’s vital we do everything possible to support them in their roles. Over the past year we’ve been speaking to officers and listening to their views around how they can make the service they provide even better. As a result, we’re taking action to reduce their workloads, ensure their well-being and give the front line a stronger voice in decision-making.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid

Home Secretary Sajid Javid

The Front Line Review has been launched by Policing Minister Nick Hurd and the Police Federation of England and Wales at the latter’s headquarters. Officers from the front line and representatives from the College of Policing, the Superintendents’ Association, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners were all present.

Hurd added: “We wanted to hear directly from the front line of policing and the messages were clear. There’s a need for more people. The call to stop wasting police time. The desire for more of a say in the decisions that affect the front line. The need for more time and support for both training and well-being. We’ve listened and now we’re taking action with our partners to make sure police officers, staff and volunteers have the support they need, wherever they serve. This is on top of the increased investment to recruit more officers.”

Making a difference

New guidance will also be issued empowering police to push back against responding to inappropriate requests for attendance, often health or welfare related, and where the police have neither the right skills or powers to respond.

John Apter: chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales

John Apter: chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales

This is designed to make a difference for vulnerable people, giving them the right support from the right agencies, while also freeing up time for the police to focus on tackling crime.

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, commented: “In my 27 years’ service, this is the first time I can recall the Home Office directly engaging with the front line to seek their views and I welcome that. I admit to having been sceptical at first, concerned the review would side-step the important issues of pay, morale and trying to do more with fewer officers, but I was reassured to hear the policing minister acknowledge these views have been captured and will be considered alongside this. It’s now important that we all work together to ensure these recommendations to prioritise their mental health and well-being become a meaningful reality for police officers.”

Other measures outlined in the Front Line Review launch include:

*plans to bring the front line into the decision-making process on future policies and change

*a commitment to look into shift patterns with a view to giving officers more time for well-being as well as personal and professional development

Nick Hurd

Nick Hurd

*bringing police chiefs and their staff together to find solutions to the front line’s frustrations over internal bureaucracies, including administration and inefficiencies, in order to free up time

These measures have been informed by the feedback from police officers and staff. An Office for National Statistics report summarises the views from 28 face-to-face workshops with police and provides candid views from the front line about demand, well-being challenges, insecurities around personal safety, training and morale.

The Government has worked closely with the College of Policing, the National Police Chiefs Council, the Police Federation, HMICFRS, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and others to see how it can learn from these findings.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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