Policing: The Job & The Life


In 2016, the Police Dependants’ Trust published Injury on Duty, a major research piece by the University of Surrey, that explored the impact of and support received by serving and former police officers in England and Wales. The results were startling:

82% of frontline officers have been injured on duty (76% in last 5 years)

1 in 6 have taken a week or more off work in the last 5 years due to PTSD

86% said the service must prioritise mental health needs following a major incident

Changing the conversation on welllbeing

After publishing these findings, the Police Dependants Trust used it’s influence within the service to make mental health a priority. As a result:

The Department of Health funded the creation of Oscar Kilo, a hub for bluelight wellbeing resources, and the home for the newly launched bluelight wellbeing strategy – a gap analysis tool for individual forces to assess their response to wellbeing needs.

The Cabinet Office awarded a grant to National mental health charity Mind for a bluelight champions programme focussed on changing the conversation around mental health in policing and signposting people to help and support available.

The National wellbeing strategy was released by the College of Policing – it’s purpose: to establish a common framework across forces that meet the needs of the service.

The Home Office announced the Police wellbeing goal, a commitment to achieving quality standards in police wellbeing.

Stepping up as a charity

At the same time as influencing change, the Police Dependants’ Trust set about improving the support it offered to those in need and expanding the help available to all frontline officers and staff who suffer harm as a result of their policing role:

1in4 mental health and wellbeing

£3m has been made available to police forces to stimulate innovation and develop the capacity and capability within police forces to support the wellbeing of police officers and other frontline staff.

For frontline police officers and staff

Find out about our confidential welfare support for serving and former frontline policing personnel in need.

For organisations

Funding for wellbeing programmes aimed at supporting serving officers is available.

Post-traumatic stress in frontline policing

Developed in conjunction with 150 policing and wellbeing experts from across UK policing, there are four key recommendations to address the issue of post-traumatic stress in frontline policing.

Get help

Find out more about what support is available, who can apply, and what the process is.

Get involved

Find out about how you can support the work of the PDT at a local and national level.

Make a donation

You can ensure the right help reaches those in need by making a donation today.

Sign up for our newsletter

We won’t be bombarding you with emails all the time – it’s not our style.

New guidance & information

The Police Dependants’ Trust also published new guidance and information for frontline police officers and staff related to their role, and also published a special guide for family members about what to expect following a major incident. All were really well received, and we have been asked to produce more.

Choosing a new career after the police

Changing careers at any stage in your work life can daunting. Recognising that you are ready for a new start is the first step towards what can be an enlightening and exciting journey. Here we have pulled together some top tips to help you explore your options and see a future beyond your current role.

Five tips for dealing with workplace anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most important mental health issues in policing. Get some top tips on dealing with workplace anxiety.

Self-support techniques after a traumatic incident

It is common to experience a series of challenging incidents, one after the other. Here, we offer tips and coping strategies which may be helpful for different people at different times for different types of incident.

Supporting loved ones after a major incident

Supporting a loved one who has been involved in a major incident can be challenging for families and friends. Here is some useful information that helps to explain what to expect.

Taking the policing brain on holiday

Its not always easy to simply switch off, just because the calendar says it’s time to. Here are some suggestions to help policing minds press ‘pause’.

Trauma resilience in UK policing project launched

The Trauma Resilience in UK Policing project explores how to better support the brain’s ability to process trauma exposure and maintain resilience in contemporary operational policing.
Funded by the Police Dependants’ Trust, the team at Cambridge University will be developing practical techniques, training materials, and evidence-based insight into trauma exposure in UK policing with a view to bringing effective change to trauma management for police officers, staff, volunteers, and their families.
It has 4 key themes:

Understanding atypical trauma and high-risk roles 

Qualitative research (i.e. focus groups, consultation and job shadowing) will be undertaken with colleagues from SO15 and Counter-Terrorism units, emergency call handling teams, online Child Sexual Exploitation investigators, and firearms units.

The aim of this is to uncover how individuals develop unique skills and coping mechanisms to process trauma exposure and provide recommendations for training, assessment and wellbeing support for those in similar high-risk roles.

Trauma Management Survey: The job and The life

A National policing survey based on the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) is being designed to include new questions about psychological hazards, trauma exposure, and everyday policing.

Preventative techniques to help process trauma exposure post-incident.

A Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) will be undertaken with new police officers beginning basic training using a full training programme around trauma resilience that equips them with the tools they need to better handle trauma exposure

The research team will then monitor the level of trauma impact on these participants, assessing them every four weeks over the course of a year. Their trauma impact data will be compared to the that of a control group from the same intake in order to gauge the extent to which such training can help individuals’ resilience to trauma.

The intent is to develop this programme, complete with the evidence to demonstrate efficacy, and then work with forces to implement it into the core training programme for all staff Nationally.

Resilience training skills

A four-day intensive course of self-directed neuroplasticity and resilience techniques designed for those in specialist roles requiring high levels of cognitive agility.

To read more about the project, and its progress on all four key themes, please visit www.policingtrauma.sociology.cam.ac.uk


What is the survey about?

The Job & The Life is the UK’s first force-wide policing survey to assess trauma management and working conditions. IT is being independently delivered by the University of Cambridge.

The questions invite an honest look at how trauma exposure is managed and how working conditions shape the policing experience in the current climate.

The survey addresses key issues emerging from recent research (including the 2016 Injury on Duty Report) and looks to provide more clarity on what support is needed, possible and helpful for operational officers and staff.

Frequently asked questions

Is it for me?

If you are a current, serving police officer or police staff- YES!

Is it anonymous?

Yes. Nobody will be able to link you to your answers.

The survey is being run by a team of 3 researchers who are independently employed. The information you supply will be anonymised and analysed before being used to create the output report.

More details about this can be found on the University of Cambridge microsite: https://www.policingtrauma.sociology.cam.ac.uk/

How long will it take me to complete?

15 minutes on average

Will it ask uncomfortable questions?

The survey will ask you to be honest about your working experiences in policing but you are not obliged to provide any information you don’t feel comfortable providing. There are free text boxes if you feel you do wish to add more and you are welcome to use them. Contact details for support are provided with the survey should it raise any issues for which respondents would like to seek any advice or guidance.

Is my data protected?

Yes. The survey adheres fully to new the Data Protection Act (2018) which incorporates the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

A full declaration of this is provided in the opening to the survey. Be sure to read this and be comfortable with the assurances it provides.

You are also advised to read the Police Dependants’ Trust privacy policy which can be found by clicking here.

Who is running the survey?

The University of Cambridge Department of Sociology (lead by Dr Brendan Burchell) is conducting the survey, sponsored by the Police Dependants’ Trust who are independent.

It is being overseen by the trauma resilience project board. This has representatives from the Police Federation of England & Wales, the College of PolicingOscar Kilo, force Chief Medical Officers, and expertise on trauma from University College London (Professor Chris Brewin).

If you would like to know more about the team, please click here.

I just filled in a PFEW survey recently, how is this survey different?

This survey builds on the Demand, Capacity and Welfare survey and is open to all police and police staff. It takes a closer look at how individuals and forces manage everyday job-to-job trauma and enables us to compare how policing is experienced in the UK, compared to other kinds of work and to other countries.

What will be done with the results?

The results will be analysed to give forces and the UK police as a whole a picture of how policing in the UK compares to other jobs and other countries. Specific reports will be produced on key issues about trauma management and working conditions over the next year and these will be published online, in newsletters, policing journals and academic journals. Forces can also request their own report. Results will also be made public through a variety of channels including social media.

I can't seem to get in, why?

Some forces have Firewalls. Try opening the link from home or on your mobile phone.

Who can I contact for more information?

If you have technical queries, contact pdtrust@magd.cam.ac.uk
For media enquiries please contact press@pdtrust.org or call 020 8102 9763
For research related enquiries, contact research@pdtrust.org

If these questions raise any issues for you personally, please do make contact with your GP, Occupational Health team, wellbeing advisors, staff association/ federation, TRiM practitioners, peer support groups or supporting charities such as the Police Dependants’ Trust.