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Response to the Common Goal for Wellbeing 2021 announcement

The Government has today published its common goal for police wellbeing in England and Wales, which it expects to deliver tangible results Nationally by 2021. The document, Common goal for police wellbeing 2021, has been released by the Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service at the second police wellbeing roundtable and attended by Gill Scott-Moore, Chief Executive of the PDT.

Speaking at the roundtable, Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP said,

“There is a huge amount of energy, common cause and support for making sure we are doing all we can to support the wellbeing of our police officers and staff – who play such a vital role in keeping our country safe. We need to be really clear on where we want to be in the future, and begin the important work to get there.”

The goal, which reinforces the statutory responsibility of Chief Constables to manage the welfare of their officers and staff, sees three key priorities to achieve by 2021:

  • Ensuring every member of the police service feels confident that their welfare and wellbeing is actively support by their police force throughout their career.
  • That a culture supporting this is embedded in every force; and
  • That individuals have access to appropriate support when they need it, including physical and mental health, as well as the broader concept of wellbeing.

This announcement comes on the back of research published by the PDT into injury on duty combined with research by other police organisations on the welfare and wellbeing needs of the service. PDT Chair, Tim Jackson QPM said,

“Wellbeing in policing is vitally important, and it’s something that has been ignored for far too long. It’s right that the PDT has been taking this agenda forward, and it’s good to see this commitment on what is a fundamental issue.”

The goal includes embedding evidence-based standards in welfare at supervisory and leadership levels as well as in occupational health teams; sharing of best-practice with a National resource of evidence about what works; and embedding a culture around prevention and early intervention.  PDT Chief Executive Gill Scott-Moore sounded a note of cautious optimism, saying,

“Since publishing the Injury on Duty research in 2016, and the report into post-traumatic stress in frontline policing last year, we have been consistently calling for welfare that works for everyone who suffers harm as a result of their policing role.  We are pleased that the Minister is heeding those calls, and we look forward to hearing about how forces will address identified weaknesses in wellbeing at a local level.”

The announcement also outlines the future use of PEEL assessments and Force Management Statements under HMICFRS to hold forces to account for wellbeing standards at a local and National level, something the PDT has been keen to see as a means to end the postcode lottery of welfare support across forces in England and Wales. Tim added,

“Policing is a people-focused organisation, and its staff are not tools to be used and then discarded when they’re broken. I am pleased to see the goal announced today, and will await the substance behind it with great interest. In the meantime, the PDT will continue to provide the confidential programme of practical, emotional, and financial support which those who have suffered harm as a result of their policing role require every single day.”

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For editors:

Police Dependants’ Trust is a National police charity dedicated to supporting those who suffer harm as a result of their police role. Formed more than 50 years ago following the Braybrook street massacre, which saw three police officers brutally murdered in broad daylight, the PDT provides a confidential programme of practical, emotional, and financial support to those in need, for life. Operating across all 48 police forces covering the UK, and doing so without any Government funding, we care for more than 10,000 people every single year.

Headline statistics from thee Injury on Duty research (https://www.pdtrust.org/survey-interim-results/):

  • 81% experienced at least one physical/mental health issue due to their policing work
  • 16% have taken a week or more off work in the past 5 years due to PTSD
  • two most common reasons for taking a week or more off work being anxiety (43%) and depression (37%)
  • practical help from police charity top rated, HR/personnel department worst rated (22/22)

Report on post-traumatic stress in frontline policing (https://www.pdtrust.org/research/post-traumatic-stress/)

Press contact: Damian Chapman (020 8102 9763) / press@pdtrust.org
www.pdtrust.org