Oscar Kilo – The National Police Wellbeing Service and the College of Policing, have committed to prioritise research into ways of tackling fatigue amongst officers and staff following the results of the first ever national police wellbeing survey.
More than 34,000 police officers and staff across England and Wales responded to the survey, which ran for eight weeks between November 2019 and January 2020
Almost half of police officers who responded told us they were having less than six hours of sleep a night, with shift workers more likely to experience poor sleep quality.
As a result, the National Police Wellbeing Service team are to carry out research with experts in police fatigue from around the world, together with UK practitioners and staff associations to look at ways to reduce the growing issue of officer and staff fatigue.
The wellbeing survey also found that police officers working in safeguarding and investigations reported lower levels of wellbeing, while police staff reported lower levels of wellbeing in areas such as custody, contact management and incident management.
There were, however, many positive findings from the survey:
- 65% of respondents reporting feeling satisfaction in their work.
- The majority of officers and staff reported they felt trusted in their roles and were able to act and make choices which reflected their own personal beliefs and values.
- Both police officers and staff reported feeling high levels of competence in their work, meaning they felt they could be effective, make important contributions and felt valued by their co-workers and supervisors.
Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, NPCC wellbeing lead and Service Director for Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS), said:
“First of all, almost 35,000 people responded to the first ever national survey on wellbeing which in itself is a big positive.
“Looking at the results, we see some areas of progress, and other issues which strengthen our resolve to keep doing more.
“It’s clear that many people feel valued by their peers and supervisors – but less so by the organisation and the public – a gap we see in every survey that is directly linked to trust.
“Fatigue also leaps off the page, and this has a lot to do with our cultural acceptance in relation to things like disrupted sleep and all the risks it can bring to our health and operational decision making.
“On this specifically, the Oscar Kilo National Police Wellbeing Service team are already linking in with staff associations, wellbeing leads across the UK and experts from around the world to establish a specific area of work on fatigue as part of the national programme to ensure we address this.
“One of the other key things evident from the findings, is that officers and staff tend to start on day one, new into the organisation, full of energy, but very quickly start to dip on almost all areas of wellbeing surveyed.
“Do we just shrug our shoulders and accept this as ‘how it is’ or do we refuse to accept it has to be so? We believe we can do more to maintain and even increase wellbeing from day one throughout our careers and the survey findings will help us make the point.”
Chief Constable Mike Cunningham, CEO of the College of Policing, said:
“The police workforce remain our greatest asset so it is vital we continue to support and enhance the health, wellbeing and resilience of officers and staff so they are best equipped to keep the public safe.
“This survey has now provided a baseline which the National Police Wellbeing Service will use to measure future progress, which will help to prioritise work at both a national level and in the support we provide to individual forces.
“The expectation now is that forces will also address the key themes identified in the survey as part of their local approach to wellbeing with the support of Oscar Kilo where needed.
“We will look to conduct the survey again the end of this year and then again in 2021 to assess progress and whether improvements are being achieved.”