Home Secretary Amber Rudd has awarded £7.5million of funding for a National Police Welfare Service.
Writing on the Police Oracle website, the Home Secretary said that the professionalism of the police during a period of four terrorist incidents in as many months had been “truly humbling”. She also highlighted the “massive impact” the police have had on crime and keeping the country safe. Crime traditionally measured by the Crime Survey for England and Wales is down by a third since 2010.
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.
“So today, 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 new service will complement the support already delivered at force level to serving police officers and staff, covering mental health advice and welfare support. To help identify where additional support and coordination is needed, the College will begin an immediate exercise to finalise the details of the National Police Welfare Service.
Plans will be developed over the coming months by the College of Policing, working very closely with Police Federation. The service will initially be tested in a pilot and, subject to its success, will be rolled out across the country between 2018 and 2020. The College’s work to deliver a National Police Welfare Service will complement their existing work on staff welfare, which includes guidance on officer and staff safety and support in high stress environments.
Chief Constable Alex Marshall, College of Policing CEO, said:
“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.
“Officers and staff signed up to the College’s membership already have access to coaching, mentoring and advice on development and wellbeing.
“In addition to this transformation bid, later this year the College will publish new guidance for forces to manage psychological stress for those working in high risk areas such as firearms, undercover operations, counter terrorism and child sexual exploitation.
“We look forward to working with colleagues across the service towards national provision of a welfare service for officers and staff.”
Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said:
“This is fantastic news for all officers and particularly our members who are working in high-stress situations. Now they will have access to a properly funded welfare service offering specialist help which the Federation has been calling for for years.
“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.”
Last financial year, the Police Transformation Fund awarded £74million police-led projects including bids commissioned by the Police Reform and Transformation Board. This included funding to tackle modern slavery and expand the graduate recruitment scheme, Police Now.
Set up as part of the spending review in 2015, the fund, which is police-led through the Police Reform and Transformation Board, is designed to allocate extra investment to continue the job of reform and shape policing for the future. Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constable representatives sit on the Board alongside senior leaders in policing, with the final decisions on bids made by the Home Secretary.