This week the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) response policing lead is aiming to recognise and celebrate the work of response police officers.
This week of action, the first of its kind to be led by the NPCC, is intended to put a special emphasis on police wellbeing and ensure officers are aware of the resources available to them.
Dyfed Powys Police Federation’s wellbeing lead has welcomed the initiative and hopes that it leads to a wider dialogue around the need for forces to support their officers and staff.
Dai Gaskins explained: “I am pleased the NPCC has organised this week of action, it is definitely a step in the right direction. Response police officers are often the first on the scene at traumatic incidents and repeated exposure to these situations can take its toll.
“This initiative will hopefully help highlight the critical role of response officers and raise awareness of the various organisations, including the Police Federation, which are there to offer them support.
“But we need to ensure that we keep the conversation going once the week of action has passed. Police officers need to know there is support available should they find that their role is starting to have an impact on their mental wellbeing. No one should suffer in silence, help is easily accessible.”
The NPCC has worked with Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS), the College of Policing and the Police Federation to deliver a range of wellbeing and resilience initiatives, co-ordinated specifically for response officers’ needs, during this week.
Wellbeing vans will be deployed across the UK and wellbeing dogs will be available to some forces, along with a series of Oscar Kilo webinars around sleep, fatigue and resilience and toolkits for self-care and compassion.
A number of engagement opportunities for frontline officers will take place, including a #WECOPS response policing conversation with NPCC wellbeing lead Chief Constable Andy Rhodes and response policing lead Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy.
DCC Kennedy said: “The aim of the week of action is for response officers to be heard and valued, to see their workplace successes celebrated, to know that their wellbeing is important and to understand how and where to seek support when it is needed.
“These officers routinely face and deal with some of the most challenging and difficult situations in society. They are frequently the first on the scene whenever an incident occurs, and they are often the first and only contact that many ever have with the police service. It is only right that they feel supported in the work they do.
“I encourage all senior leaders in policing to get involved with this initiative and to ensure that every opportunity is taken to recognise and celebrate the incredible work these officers do every day”.
Chief Constable Rhodes added: “It is important to know that this is not just a one-off event; we want to use this week as an opportunity to let officers know that support is available to them and to their forces, all year round. The wellbeing of officers and staff is a priority for all police chiefs. We are always listening and support will always be there for those who need it.”