Federation ready to help officers under pressure

4 February 2021

Branch secretary Roger Webb says Dyfed Powys Police Federation is there to support members as new figures reveal more than two thirds have experienced difficulties with their health and wellbeing in the last year.

The Federation’s demand, capacity and welfare survey found that 71 per cent of Dyfed Powys Police respondents had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety, or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing over the last 12 months.

Of these, 84 per cent indicated these feelings were caused, or made worse, by work.

“These figures are concerning,” Roger said, “It’s been an incredibly demanding year for us all as we face the challenges presented by the pandemic and it’s clearly having an impact.

“The Federation’s national Hear ‘Man Up’, Think ‘Man Down’ campaign and our branch focus on officer wellbeing are aimed at encouraging officers to look out for their colleagues, and that message is as important as ever.

“As a Federation, we’re here to support you and can point you in the direction of further help if you need it. You’re not alone,” added Roger.

The survey examined the impact of the pandemic on Dyfed Powys officers with 24 per cent of respondents asying they were worried about the impact the crisis will have on them personally.

Of those, 26 per cent were concerned about contracting Covid-19 from close contact in the line of duty; 20 per cent were concerned at being assaulted by an infected person; 33 per cent having adequate access to testing; and 20 per cent at enforcing lockdown restrictions.

Almost a third (29 per cent) disagreed or strongly disagreed they have all the equipment they personally need to protect them from Covid-19 while at work.

In other results, 23 per cent of Dyfed Powys Police respondents viewed their job as very or extremely stressful.

And 16 per cent reported they’d suffered one or more injuries that required medical attention as a result of work-related violence in the last year.

Roger said: “The survey illustrates the impact that the pandemic is having on our colleagues, the pressures they’re working under and the challenges they’re facing.

“They’re on the frontline of the fight against this potentially deadly virus while dealing with increasing levels of violence – and it’s having an impact on their welfare.”

The national picture shows that 26 per cent of officers believed they’ve contracted the virus. 45 per cent of these respondents believed they contracted the virus through work-related activities. 

Almost one in three (32 per cent) reported a member of the public who was believed to carry the virus had purposely threatened to breathe or cough on them, while nearly a quarter (24 per cent) said someone had actually done so.

Officers also said they’d been frequently exposed to incidents which placed them at risk of physical and/or psychological harm, with 16 per cent stating they had suffered one or more injuries requiring medical attention due to work-related violence.

Over half (55 per cent) had been the victim of an unarmed physical attack over the previous 12 months, and this figure increased to 83 per cent when only examining responses from officers working in Response, Neighbourhood Policing, Custody and Roads. 

Officers felt undervalued for the dangerous work they do, and high levels of fatigue and occupational stress were found in the survey to be commonplace. Mental health and wellbeing issues were highlighted by 77 per cent of police officers, and the majority (90 per cent) of these respondents indicated psychological difficulties had been caused, or made worse, by working within policing.

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “The results of this survey have come directly from our members – those police officers who are on the frontline dealing with whatever society throws at them.

“The increasing level of violence they face, especially involving the weaponising of the virus, is a sad indictment of the society we live in.

“Government must hear them; they must be given all the protection they need to protect themselves and this includes being prioritised for the Covid vaccine. We have had enough of the warm words, we now need action.” 

Read the Dyfed Powys survey report.