Blue Flower

Great news for the service...

 

New £7.5 million welfare support service announced

Home Office to make money available to help officers' mental health and wellbeing needs.

A National Police Welfare Service will be launched with Home Office funds to provide dedicated welfare support for officers.

Some £7.5 million will be given to a pilot for the service, to be run by the College of Policing, “working very closely” with the Police Federation of England and Wales.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the move today in an editorial for Police Oracle.

She wrote: “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 welcome the work already being done by forces and chief officers to promote officer health and wellbeing, but we also want to enhance the safety net of support available to you.”

She added: “Today, I am awarding £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, for any officer or member of staff who needs it.”

Subject to it being successful, it will be rolled out to all 43 forces between 2018 and 2020.

In January Police Oracle accused the government of failing to meet its obligation of protecting our officers both in the job and, particularly, when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma.

Via our BluePrint campaign we called on the Government to acknowledge and protect our unique service, the best in the world as stated by politicians themselves, by introducing a Police Covenant.

Much in the way the £10 million per annum Armed Forces Covenant accepts applications to support the armed forces community, we suggested a covenant could work in a similar way.

Officers forced to retire, in need of modifications at home, physiotherapy, mental health assistance or families left with no father or mother would all be able to apply to the trust for grants.

Police Federation of England and Wales chairman Steve White, 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.”

The Fed’s welfare survey has highlighted many issues in this area, with 65 per cent telling it last year that they still went to work even though they felt they shouldn’t because of the state of their mental wellbeing.

Mr White added: “We took proactive steps to better understand the issues that exist, but realised that our findings were likely to only be the tip of the iceberg. Nonetheless, it was important evidence which we used to push leaders to improve the support given to their staff.

“We will continue to work with the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs’ Council to ensure that the scheme is a success and provides the support that is needed for the service.”

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