New welfare service offers ‘enhanced support’ for officers

Tireless lobbying from the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has finally paid off with the Government announcing a new £7.5 million welfare fund for over-worked officers.

Jul 11, 2017

Tireless lobbying from the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has finally paid off with the Government announcing a new £7.5 million welfare fund for over-worked officers. The National Police Welfare Service will initially be tested as a pilot and rolled out to all 43 forces between 2018 and 2020 – if it is successful. The new service will be subsidised by the Police Transformation Fund, and will cover mental health advice and welfare support. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “I’ve seen first-hand the commitment shown by you, our police officers. I am very aware that your uniquely challenging work can easily place stressful demands on you. “The things you see, the dreadful stories you hear, the frightening situations in which you can find yourself must, in some cases, have an impact on someone’s personal wellbeing and their mental health. It’s only right that policing does all it can to provide high quality support for officers and staff. “I am awarding £7.5million 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, which if you need it, you can rely on.” The PFEW will be working with the College of Policing over the coming months to help identify where additional support and coordination is needed. Steve White, chair of the PFEW, said: “This is fantastic news for all officers and particularly our members whose work in high-stress situations has been exacerbated over the years because policing numbers have been cut to the bone. “Now they will have access to a properly funded welfare service offering specialist help which the Federation has been calling for for years. While forces have tried hard to provide support, it has been very difficult in the current austerity climate to ensure good provision across the board. “We know from our own welfare survey that the mental wellbeing of police officers is considerably poorer than that of the general public. Nearly two thirds of officers said they still went to work even though they felt they shouldn’t because of the state of their mental wellbeing. “We will continue to work with the college and the National Police Chiefs’ Council to ensure that the scheme is a success and provides the support that is needed for the service.” The college will also publish new guidance for forces to manage psychological stress for its officers who work in high-risk areas such as firearms, counter terrorism and child sexual exploitation. Chief Constable Alex Marshall, the college’s chief executive, added: “The people who work in policing spend a lot of their time protecting and supporting people who are vulnerable. They often face dangerous and demanding situations so it is right to be proud of our police workforce and be concerned for their welfare. “We look forward to working with colleagues across the service towards national provision of a welfare service for officers and staff.”

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