A six-month trial examining the resilience and well-being of more than 1,000 serving police officers and staff has culminated in a free online mindfulness package being made available to the service. The randomised control trial split police officers and staff into three groups – one who used ‘Mindfit Cop’ (more of which anon), another who used a different mindfulness app and website and a group who didn’t use either product.
Involving upwards of 1,300 officers and staff*, the trial found those serving officers and staff using the two mindfulness products had improved average performance in their job, resilience and well-being in comparison to the group who were not using either product.
The result was the creation of a free online mindfulness package, the aforementioned ‘Mindfit Cop’, which officers and staff can complete in half-hour sessions over eight weeks.
‘Mindfit Cop’ was developed by Detective Inspector (DI) Jenni McIntyre-Smith from Bedfordshire Police and leading UK mindfulness trainer Michael Chaskalson. Working with DI McIntyre-Smith and well-being researchers from the University of East Anglia, the College of Policing provided funding to design the programme and carry out the trial.
Pressures and demands of the role
Rachel Tuffin, director at the College of Policing, explained: “Several recent surveys have shown those working in policing are less likely than other Emergency Services personnel to seek help and support to deal with the pressures and demands their jobs entail. DI McIntyre-Smith’s programme is one practical option. ‘Mindfit Cop’ has been successfully trialled and is a free and innovative resource developed by policing, for policing.”
DI McIntyre-Smith wanted to bring mindfulness into policing after completing her own eight-week course and realising its benefits when working in a fast-paced and pressurised job. “I knew then that I wanted to make this training available to policing as there were so many benefits. I’m so pleased with the results of this project and so proud that my work can now be used by everyone working in policing across England and Wales.”
Rachel Tuffin added: “In the National Police Well-Being Service, we’re developing other practical toolkits and products which officers and staff can access at any time as part of our ongoing commitment to improve their mental and physical health support.”
*The police forces which took part in the randomised control trial were Avon and Somerset, Bedfordshire, the Cambridgeshire Constabulary, the Hertfordshire Constabulary and South Wales