Dyfed Powys ‘setting the bar high’ around officer health and safety

Most of the concerns from the Police Federation of England and Wales around health and safety are already being addressed in Dyfed Powys, the branch has confirmed.

Delme Rees, health and safety lead for Dyfed Powys Police Federation, responded to a “wish-list” issued by his national counterpart Mark Andrews of where forces must improve, saying “having reviewed the specifics, I am proud that very few issues raised are present in our Force.”

Mark is reminding chief constables of their legal obligations and calling on them to ensure that:

  • Suitable and sufficient risk assessments are undertaken with reasonably practicable control measures put in place where appropriate.
  • Recognition as to when Generic Risk Assessments need to be updated or changed.
  • Appropriate training.
  • Uniform, equipment and PPE to keep officers secure and comfortable.
  • Working locations where officers have facilities to rest, concentrate and take care of their basic human needs.
  • Consideration of their needs when deployed on operational situations.

Delme credits the “good working relationship” between the branch and the health and safety department in Force which has ensured that most of these points are already being addressed.

He explained: “We regularly take part in and have an open invitation to join the health and safety team on their inspections and audits across all departments and stations. We have scheduled meetings and are able to speak to the H&S manager directly to address any immediate concerns.”

The Federation can access the Incident Reporting System where accidents, near misses and assaults on colleagues are recorded. This contains the subsequent investigations, recommendations and actions considered.

Delme added: “In relation to assaults and injuries of officers – these are recently being separated from the accident category and captures more information to better assist understanding of potential causes and remedies. I am not aware of officers being advised not to submit near miss reports, but if that is happening, I would encourage any member to speak to me directly in confidence.”

An increasing number of staff have received the entry level Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) training to embed a good health and safety culture, and more.

There has been positive feedback from members on deployments and mutual aid who have used the services provided by the Federation’s welfare van, also allowing the branch to be alerted to welfare issues. A second van should be online soon.

“This capability goes someway to address the lack of welfare provision for some of the previous spontaneous deployments requiring officers’ presence at scenes often in remote locations,” said Delme.

But he added: “I am aware of potentially low levels of health screening taking place considering the number of members involved in shift working and undertaking certain roles, and some delay in accessing physiotherapy and counselling to assist recovery. The Federation is currently considering how we can improve access for members.”