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.
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:
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.
Trauma resilience in UK policing project launched
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.
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.
Who is running the survey?
It is being overseen by the trauma resilience project board. This has representatives from the Police Federation of England & Wales, the College of Policing, Oscar 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.