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Fed chairman: 'It is refreshing to see policing minster show understanding'


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Nick Hurd listens to first-hand experience at police wellbeing session.

Nick Hurd during the discussion

Nick Hurd during the discussion


A roundtable meeting with the policing minister has been hailed a success after he illustrated he understood the pressure police officers face.

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd listened to senior officers talk about police wellbeing, including a chief superintendent who wrote a personal memoir on policing and mental health.

The meeting focused on how the government can assist police chiefs in their statutory duty to manage the welfare of their officers.

It was attended by police leaders including Chief Constable Andy Rhodes - the National Police Chiefs Council Lead on Wellbeing - and experts from across government, Public Health England, and mental health charities.

Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent John Sutherland, author of ‘Blue: A Memoir’, which details his struggles with mental health during a 26-year career in policing, also addressed the event about his personal experiences.

Mr Hurd said: “Policing can be a very demanding job. Officers have demonstrated extraordinary courage and fortitude in the face of major challenges over the past year, including terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire. I am grateful to them for their tireless work and dedication to duty.

“It is imperative that policing provides excellent support to its officers and staff – which is why I’m keen to listen to those with the most experience on how to do this best.

“The government takes the issue of police welfare very seriously, and this event provides an opportunity to review progress so far and put plans in place for the future.”

PFEW vice-chairman Chè Donald, the federation’s lead on mental health and wellbeing, said: “I found the outcome of the roundtable a positive one. The mental wellbeing of our members is a great concern of ours at the federation.

“It was refreshing to hear Nick Hurd show his understanding for the pressures of the work of the police.

“Now I would like to see more in the prevention of mental stress and what the government plans to do to stop it.”

The roundtable builds on existing work by the sector. In July 2017, the Home Secretary awarded £7.5 million from the Police Transformation Fund over three years to pilot and, if it is successful, fund a dedicated national service to help provide enhanced welfare support.

The new service will complement the support already delivered at force level to serving officers and staff.

The government has also awarded £7 million since 2014, using funds from the LIBOR fines imposed on banks, to the charity Mind, which has funded targeted support and programmes for emergency services.

Last year Police Oracle launched its BluePrint campaign earlier which calls on the government to protect officers both in the job and, particularly, when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma.

We asked the government to acknowledge and protect our unique service by introducing a Police Covenant which will support officers and their families financially when they need expert help. 

The College of Policing has also carried out important work in this area. CC Rhodes and Dr Ian Hesketh of the College have led the design of The Blue Light Wellbeing Framework – the first ever sector-specific self-assessment management tool.

It is available via Oscar Kilo, a website that brings together those responsible for wellbeing and shares learning and best practice.

CC Andy Rhodes said: “Our police officers and staff work in a physically and emotionally demanding environment, putting their bodies and their minds on the line 24/7 to keep us safe.

“This roundtable sends out a clear message that we are relentless in our commitment to provide the world-class welfare support police need to deliver a high-quality service for the public.”

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