Home Office Police Welfare Plan - but not until 2021
Measures aimed at improving police officer and staff health and wellbeing have been set out in a new document from the Home Office – but cops have questioned why they don’t need to be implemented until 2021.
A Common Goal For Police Wellbeing aims to ensure that every member of the police service feels ‘confident that their welfare and wellbeing is actively supported by their force’, that a supportive culture is embedded in forces and that officers have ‘access to appropriate support for their physical and mental health needs.’
The report says this should be achieved by 2021.
Most recent figures show there has been a 47% rise in the number of UK police officers suffering from mental health related illnesses in the last five years. 9,267 police officers were off work sick with stress, anxiety, depression or PTSD in the past year.
And yet the report has a goal that is three years away.
In order to achieve its goal the report wants forces to focus on prevention and early intervention, to make sure standards are consistent across constabularies and for innovative ideas and best practice to be freely shared.
Policing Minister Nick Hurd wrote that the report follows a number of meetings he’s had with high ranking officers and police focused groups and organisations.
“I hosted a roundtable discussion drawing together a range of organisations with a stake in police wellbeing… to consider how the Government can help police chiefs in their duty to support officers,” he says in the document’s foreword.
“A key outcome was a need to agree a shared vision for police wellbeing. We need to be really clear on where we want to be in the future and begin the work to get there. We want to act quickly and have a chosen 2021 as the timescale to deliver this goal.”
The report also sets out the responsibilities around improving wellbeing in the sector and it tasks Chief Constables and PCCs with ensuring that the measures are put in place.
Evidence from frontline staff will also be sought through the College of Policing’s Welfare and Wellbeing project while HMICFRS will be capturing evidence of progress through its PEEL assessments and Force Management Statements.