This week we are announcing the winners of the 2021 Oscar Kilo Awards.
The Oscar Kilo Awards have been created to recognise the amazing work that has been done, and continues to be done, to provide wellbeing support across UK policing.
Each day this week we will be telling you about the fantastic work carried out by each of the winning projects. We will be focussing on a different category each day sharing your winning ideas, learnings and best practice.
The award categories reflect the six areas of the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework; Leadership, Absence Management, Creating the Environment, Mental Health, Personal Resilience and Protecting the Workforce.
Each winning project strongly met the criteria for the Awards evidencing that the project:
- Is evidence-based, both in terms of the audience to be targeted and the messages to be conveyed.
- Referenced the GAIN model in its planning and application.
- Has been evaluated and can show evidence of it having had a beneficial effect on changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.
- Can be scaled up whilst maintaining quality and being cost effective.
The winners will get the chance to celebrate at an online Awards Event later this week.
Our judges wanted to ensure they have the chance to thank everyone who entered so they’ve put together this short video to celebrate these awards virtually.
If you, or a colleague, have completed, or are working towards the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework and have created a project or programme that is making a difference to your force, and is worthy of recognition, then think about entering our next Awards. We will be looking for nominations in the Autumn.
Below are all the winners of the award categories and details of their projects:
WINNER – National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) Operation Talla
Responding in a crisis
In March 2020 as the enormity of the Covid-19 global pandemic became evident in the UK, so did the challenge for UK policing. The basis of consent that underpins modern policing is built upon the presumption that the service maintains a strong relationship with the public, and provides a clear, reassuring presence across communities. The restrictions necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19 put this at risk and created an immediate need to protect and reassure officers and staff.
From a standing start, NPoCC established a small team and together with a network of colleagues from each force and the support of staff associations, they set about establishing a national procurement and distribution system. This provided PPE to the whole of the police family, including non-Home Office forces, UK dependent territories and the three devolved administrations.
In order to deliver huge volumes of high quality PPE into policing, a brand new procurement, storage and distribution facility was created, supported by the development of a national PPE performance dashboard to help managers ensure the continuity of supplies.
The PPE required for a pandemic had never been issued for use in policing before, so new guidance was vital to inform operational activity. Guidance was developed in line with PHE and NHS and adapted as more was learnt about the virus.
This project successfully ensured 50 police services across the UK and its dependent territories have held sufficient supplies of PPE throughout the pandemic, which has undoubtedly positively impacted on the level of sickness and infection amongst police officers and staff.
WINNER – Warwickshire Police
Following their successful Year of Health and Wellbeing in 2019 Warwickshire launched their revised Vision and Values in 2020, with a workforce promise ‘to put your health and wellbeing first’. To support this the Sergeant’s Development Programme was introduced, with a specific input on health and wellbeing.
When the pandemic took hold of the nation, these initiatives had to evolve, to deliver across the workforce remotely, ensuring a clear focus on educating and protecting the workforce against Covid-19.
To support mental health and resilience issues, a dedicated Covid-19 microsite was developed. Through this, and other channels such as the workforce engagement group, they adapted more learning and training online, increasing communication with the workforce allowing them access to more remote resources.
Some of the project implemented were; Chief Officer vlogs; sanitation stations; physical fitness and keeping healthy tips; a new Employee Assistance Programme; the introduction of ESTIP; promotion of Mindfit Cop and Individual Resilience Sessions.
Warwickshire Police have continued to focus on supporting officers and staff. Using previously established benchmarks and listening to what officers and staff had to say, assisted them in the continued focus on health and wellbeing and the protection the workforce.
RUNNER-UP – Cleveland Police
From the beginning of the pandemic, Cleveland realised the importance of their staff feeling valued, safe and part of an organisation that had their wellbeing as a priority.
For the first month of the pandemic, the Force and Chief Constable arranged for every member of staff to get a packed lunch twice a day, to support front line key workers when shops were restricted and panic buying was happening.
This was supplemented by the long-term loan of one of the Oscar Kilo ‘Wellbeing’ vans, which travelled around the Force distributing refreshments and offering support. It became a ‘safe space’ for officers and staff to talk to the Wellbeing team if they needed help and advice – almost 900 people were reached this way.
For those working from home, remotely and still working operationally – a ‘Supporting You’ document was developed and made available internally. Full of information, tips, support, advice, blogs and videos it also included daily messages and advice from PHE and the Government.
Other initiatives included:
- Video messages from senior leaders
- A mental health awareness week ‘film’.
- Regular ‘wellbeing webinars’ to discuss different themes including suicide prevention day and world mental health day.
- Staff and blue light champions were interviewed on various subjects to create a series of podcasts.
- A ‘Wellbeing and Blue light’ interactive newsletter was produced monthly.
- Self-referral forms for psychological issues were made available via internal comms and the Oscar Kilo van, a wellbeing and blue light email inbox was created for confidentiality.
- Internal wellbeing groups have been set up.
Training has continued when and where possible. The wellbeing team continued to deliver their wellbeing and blue light sessions to new recruits, transferees, newly promoted and PCDA recruits. First aid in mental health training and peer support training recommenced and Cleveland now have 150 supervisors trained in ‘first aid mental health’ and 130 wellbeing and blue light champions.
WINNER – West Mercia Police
West Mercia Police, with the support of their chief officer team introduced the Buddy Scheme which saw officers and staff volunteering to be ‘paired up’ with another individual to increase mutual communication and support across the force to improve wellbeing during the pandemic.
Two sets of officers and staff were considered for the scheme;
- Those remaining at work during the COVID-19 pandemic who were likely to be faced with increased levels of stress due to an increased workload, extended hours, less colleagues being at work, concerns about contracting or spreading the virus, and valid concerns about colleagues, friends and family.
- Those who were absent from work – through illness, self-isolation or social distancing – who were likely to be faced with feelings of guilt, loneliness, isolation and helplessness during this time in addition to concerns about COVID-19 itself.
The Buddy Scheme was developed to reduce pressure, and provide an early warning system for any officer or member of staff that may be struggling.
The role of a Buddy is to provide a ‘listening ear’ and mutual support, to contact their Buddy via phone, text message, other messaging service or video conferencing at least once a week. Participants were asked to support their Buddy within their own capabilities, personal strengths and training and were to report any concerns or immediate safeguarding issues to the scheme Coordinator.
As of January 2021, the Buddy Scheme had 60 individuals signed up across West Mercia, actively supporting each other. This number continues to grow.
Feedback has been positive, with participants on the scheme seeing the benefits of ‘keeping in touch’.
RUNNER-UP – Bedfordshire Police
Bumps and Babes
From extensive feedback and personal experience it was highlighted that officers and staff on maternity leave felt isolated and unsure of who to talk to with their queries and questions about maternity leave, this was resulting in the fear of returning to work.
Bedfordshire Police wanted to reach out to these staff – and so Bumps and Babes, a force wide initiative was developed, encouraging those on maternity leave to meet up, have a platform to discuss parenting and returning to policing with the demands of shift work and being a parent. This group allows staff to remain engaged with the working environment, making them feel connected.
The group is inclusive and welcomes same sex couples, people on adoption leave and male officers on shared maternity leave. It is publicised in two ways; through the HR maternity information packs and by line managers identifying their staff who are on maternity leave, pregnant or going through the adoption process.
The concept is simple. It began by creating a Whatsapp group where individuals elected to join. Quarterly meetups allow individuals and their babies to come together at a central location, off business premises, hired by the organisation specifically for the purposes of allowing the group to meet.
These sessions are fully supported by the Federation, Unison, our Resource Management Unit, HR and the Senior Leadership Team.
Bumps and Babes also includes support/advice about return to work, Flexible working applications, shift patterns, Annual Leave entitlement, benefits and required payments.
Once individuals return to work, the programme supports them through the provision of, breast feeding rooms, a platform for talking to others and feeling engaged, support for a working parent and nursery and care suggestions.
CREATING THE ENVIRONMENT
WINNER – Devon and Cornwall Police
Cathy Veale and Natasha Hill, members of our Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Alliance
Health and Wellbeing Team who led the WellFest 2020 initiative.
WellFest was planned to be a programme of face-to-face wellbeing delivery in local police stations and office premises of healthy lifestyle sessions.
Due to the pandemic they had the problem of how to disseminate wellbeing messages to over 8000 staff as they could no longer hold our ‘roadshows’.
Therefore, they decided to do the whole event online. WellFest 2020 was organised and marketed like an actual festival, featuring a number of themed ‘tents’, a main stage and opening and closing events.
Each of the 55 events that made up the festival were separate on-line ‘meetings’ using Microsoft Teams. Staff could gain access to the events through a virtual interactive map of the festival site.
The six specific areas of wellbeing covered in the tents were; Mental Health, Covid self-help and Financial Wellbeing, Mindfulness and Hobbies, Women’s Health, Physical Wellbeing and Nutrition and Men’s Health.
The ethos behind WellFest was to create a wellbeing environment that all employees could access, irrespective of whether they were in the workplace, working from home, isolating or on sick leave. People could use work equipment, private laptops or their own smartphones. Line managers in each force were reassured that this initiative had the support of the Command Teams, and that staff were free to access events during work time, operational demands permitting.
To maximise accessibility to all members of the police family, including shift workers and volunteers, WellFest scheduled events at different times of the day including the evening.
The live speaking events were recording and have since been uploaded to their intranet for people to watch.
In total there were 1,173 visits to WellFest event from over 400 officers and staff.
RUNNER-UP – Kent and Essex Police
Mental Health Online
Since April 2020, the Health and Wellbeing Team (joint Kent Police and Essex Police) have been delivering regular one-hour live virtual wellbeing sessions, covering various health and wellbeing themes to provide accessible support at the earliest opportunity in response to the pandemic.
To deliver these sessions they used well researched material developed for their in-house wellbeing programme, Feel Well Live Well (suspended due to the pandemic) and created shorter wellbeing themed sessions to help support and promote healthy coping strategies. All the sessions were delivered via Microsoft Teams.
An extensive library has been created and new sessions are constantly being planned. Subjects have included wellbeing and sleep, mindfulness, relaxation, managing emotions, gratitude, preventing fatigue for body and mind, working from home, men’s health, combatting anxiety, suicide awareness and many more.
The sessions have broken down barriers for mental health stigma, in particular as the team have been able to present the sessions in a way that is inclusive for all, attracting those who are interested in maintaining their physical health and also integrating tips for good emotional health, reinforcing the importance of both.
As of the end of January 2021, they have delivered 98 live sessions attended by over 2,500 officers and staff.
The virtual wellbeing sessions enable officers and staff to receive useful information, psychoeducation and feel the benefits of connection whether they are working from home or physically in the workplace. The engagement has surpassed expectation and individuals have requested themes via various force forums, and directly with the Health and Wellbeing team.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, the organisation has embraced the sessions and is committed to continuing to develop them further. The sessions continue to be promoted at team meetings, senior leadership engagement events, culture boards and support group events as well as operational briefings.
WINNER – Humberside Police
Humberside Police introduced the following programs, projects and activities which are specifically aimed at improving and supporting mental health of all their staff:
- New Internal Psychological Service – a Senior Psychotherapist has been appointed, specialising in trauma psychotherapy and EMDR. They have developed provisions with Relate for psychosexual and couples counselling and contracted four external EMDR trauma therapists.
- Improved Psychological Health Screening – Staff focus groups have provided fantastic feedback informing a new psychological screening process.
- Keeping the Peace Training & Podcasts – Produced with Fortis Therapy and Oscar Kilo, the intention of these podcasts was to enable officers and staff to hear open conversations about real life in an effort to break down stigma around mental wellbeing.
- Pause Point Scheme – This scheme is being developed to give officers and staff, in high risk roles, the ability to be regularly assessed by line managers, using reflective practice models, and at the right time pause them from a high risk role to allow them to recover, without losing them from the workplace.
- Therapy Dog – PC Sweeney and retired police dog, Cindy, are working with Occupational Health and Wellbeing to pilot Cindy as a therapy dog for those receiving in-house therapy from our psychotherapists
- Peer Supporter Scheme – the Oscar Kilo Peer Supporter scheme is being rolled out.
- Wellbeing Masterclasses for line managers – The development and delivery of a wellbeing masterclass to give advice and guidance to all line managers on what’s expected of them, support services and tools available (including signposting) so they can better spot the signs, intervene timely and support their staff.
- Wellbeing Directory – A Humberside specific on-line directory is in development to provide contact details of all support options as a back up to the wellbeing masterclasses.
- In-house screening and support for learning differences – A delivery plan to bring dyslexia assessment and support in-house is being rolled out.
- Hidden Disabilities Scheme – Humberside Police has joined this scheme to support staff and officers with hidden disabilities, we have committed to train our staff to identify the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, gain a deeper understanding of hidden disabilities and learn how to approach and support people with a hidden disability.
- Dying to Work Charter – The Force has affirmed its commitment to supporting terminally ill individuals with dignity, respect and compassion by signing up to the TUC “Dying to Work” charter in December 2020.
The goal continues to be the creation of an organisational culture, which focuses on increased self-awareness, prevention, early intervention and appropriate reactive support in helping everyone to manage their mental health in order to stay well.
The reach of the range of these programmes of activity is significant. The Force has seen an overall improvement in staff and officers’ morale and wellbeing and a reduction in sickness levels.
RUNNER-UP – Devon and Cornwall Police
Surfwell, was developed after two officers in Devon and Cornwall attempted to assist a colleague who had been significantly traumatised at work through an assault on duty. It became clear that the available options for referral and treatment were not enough and not working for this individual.
They had experienced stress and trauma themselves at various stages in their careers but had managed to retain a level of personal resilience. They felt their continued use of surfing as an activity along with the sports associated peer groups had enabled them to cope when they may otherwise had not and they began to explore surfing as a basis for a therapy provision.
It became clear that despite surf-therapy programmes existing around the world for other demographics such as the military or charity sectors, there was nothing anywhere in the world specifically for the emergency services/first responders. This led to the development of the Surfwell project, the first surf-therapy programme in the world specifically designed and tailored to the needs of the emergency services.
The Surfwell intervention is a form of enhanced peer-support. Peer-support programs are widely accepted as an excellent way of tackling stigma because they link those individuals who are suffering to a peer who is able to relate to them and break down the barriers of stigma through shared life experience and acknowledgement.
Surfwell has now been in operation for over 24 months delivering to police officers and police staff in Devon and Cornwall and Dorset police. The initial proof of concept phase, was independently monitored and tested as part of an Exeter University study, the initial findings from this study are very positive.
We have now come together with Police Care UK to open this up nationally by match funding places for forces who wish to use the Surfwell project which is great news as lots more people will be able to access this.
WINNER – Surrey and Sussex Police
Fatigue and lack of sleep can cause health issues and greatly impacts on safety and decision making a risk in policing.
Surrey and Sussex Police approached The Sleep Scientist; Dr Sophie Bostock who agreed to work with them to address the ‘barriers’ to good sleep, and to educate people about sleep giving them practical, tips, advice and support.
On 6th August 2020, they held the first Sleep Project Webinar which had 83 live attendees. A pre project survey helped shape the webinar, identifying common problems enabling Sophie to provide solutions and methods to deal with overactive minds, inability to ‘switch off’ and anxiety to name just a few.
Sleep Project results:
- 85% of those that took part took some action to change their sleeping habits
- 101 colleagues signed up to receive email prompts about good sleep advice and strategies
- Participation on the Sleep Project resulted in an extra + 30 minutes sleep each night
- Participants reported an extra + 6% improvement in their productivity
- Those that took part in the Sleep Project rated it as 8.6 out of a maximum of 10
The Sleep Project is still active and committed to providing support for all officers and staff so that they have the opportunity to sleep better and be less fatigued.
Following this project, the work has been picked up nationally, with Oscar Kilo now running a highly successful Better Sleep Series with Dr Sophie Bostock, these webinars can be accessed by officers and staff from right across the country.
The team from Surrey and Sussex are now assisting with OK NPWS Fatigue Study research, an international project where Response Officers wear special devices to measure sleep, prior to and after receiving a specialised sleep training presentation.
RUNNER-UP – Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service
Workplace Wellbeing Toolkit
As many of you know, the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework is not just used by Police Forces, but many Fire and Rescue Services are also using it. Each year, we recognise a Fire and Rescue Service who have put forward a nomination, and this year, it is Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service with their workplace wellbeing toolkit.
They developed their Workplace Wellbeing Toolbox Talks following the success of their ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’ which involved visits to crews / staff across the service to have conversations about their mental health, general wellbeing, building and maintaining their resilience and giving them the opportunity to share any concerns or suggestions. Sharing simple, effective information about how to reduce the risk of the two main contributing factors to our sickness absence statistics – musculoskeletal injuries and mental health issues.
They deliver the project by visiting stations/offices/watches/units/teams across the service, working with other support departments to embed a holistic approach to wellbeing.
Since the initial roll-out, they have completed the Oscar Kilo wellbeing framework and continues to help them in developing promotions in areas such as ‘nutrition’ and ‘sleep in an ageing workforce’.
The initial session showed a 97% positive fully engaged experience from all attendees.
Evaluation of the next phase has already received positive comments and the support of the representative bodies, in particular the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and UNISON.
Taking a ‘Holistic Wellbeing Approach’ (Encouraging, Engaging and Empowering) staff engagement with wellbeing resources has improved. As a Service we continue to promote opportunities and provide motivation for individuals to take responsibility for building their own personal resilience as well as helping their colleagues, family members and wider social contacts to building their personal resilience.
PROTECTING THE WORKFORCE
WINNER – The Metropolitan Police
The Operation Hampshire Team developed their work around assaults on police officers and staff to encourage changes in culture and attitude. Historically police officers have not seen themselves as victims in the same way as members of the public – but every assault and every hate crime matters, it has an impact on the victim, their colleagues, the profession of policing and society as a whole.
To change this culture within the Met the Op Hampshire Team needed to communicate and actively engage with all their officers and staff. They did this by:
Creating a dedicated intranet page, providing, guidance, key responsibilities and some additional “game changers” advice to enhance their response.
Developing a champions network of 300+ officers and staff – enthusiastic volunteers who are dedicated to improving the Mets response to assaults and hate abuse on members of the extended Police Family.
Developing an Op Hampshire brand with the provision of victim care and justice following an assault whilst on duty. The team worked hard to challenge and change mind-sets, by maintaining consistent and positive messages and a supportive approach. They communicated through newsletters, poster campaigns, intranet articles, intranet blogs, videos, remote workshops and both in person and remote networking events. The team have also featured on the Channel 5 series ‘Police Code Zero’.
Working with Data and Insight Hub colleagues to develop a dedicated information dashboard for assault and hate abuse offences. The dashboard includes data on offences, victims and investigation positive outcomes.
Working with SSCL and Open Answers, they have developed a new IT platform linked to the Mets internal HR system to capture all assaults on police.
Since launching Op Hampshire there has been an increase in reporting assaults of 17% (2020 v 2021).
The Operation Hampshire approach has been adopted by the College of Policing as best practice and is being rolled out nationally through Oscar Kilo the National Police Wellbeing Service.
RUNNER-UP – Surrey and Sussex Police
Beachy Head Project
As a result of some officers reporting suffering from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Surrey and Sussex Police decided to offer officers and staff additional support to help process and to deal with the trauma of dealing with incidents across areas including Seaford Head, Telscombe Cliffs, and Beachy Head.
The ‘Beachy Head Support Protocol’ established, used by supervisors it ensures officers and staff policing the cliffs receive the support they need following an incident. Giving anyone involved in an incident the opportunity to talk about the experience and get support from their line manager.
In order to implement the protocol, the team had to:
- Establish a working group and hold meetings across the division to consult and feedback around policing challenges associated with the areas and identify welfare support.
- Create a draft protocol and consult with practitioners, wider command team and stakeholders.
- Create a communication plan for implementation which included – intranet articles, direct emails, briefing & tasking slides at briefings.
- Review of protocol – feedback survey, speaking to colleagues, Command Team consultation.
As a result of focusing on policing Beachy Head Surrey and Sussex Police have also:
- Written the protocol into the coaching programme for student officers who join the division.
- Developed closer links with the Beachy Head Chaplains
- Re-assessed the use of a police building located up on the cliffs at Beachy Head and the made subsequent refurbishment plans
- Installed new signage on two bus stops at Beachy Head that direct people in crisis to Chaplains or Samaritans and at the Radio Mast Wireless Station to signpost the public to the Chaplains for support
- Purchased tents for officers to use at incidents, helping with body recovery, preventing bodies being on show to the public and to use as shelter during extreme weather conditions.
WINNER – Bedfordshire Police
MindFit Cop was created after it was identified that a number of officers and staff within the Public Protection Unit at Bedfordshire Police were suffering with stress, and finding it hard to manage workloads and to sleep.
Jenni McIntyre-Smith who at the time was a DI within the team, had been on a self-funded Mindfulness course and had experienced the benefits of Mindfulness and completed further research into the scientific benefits.
Jenni proposed the idea of Mindfit Cop to her Executive Team who agreed to fund her to formally train as a Mindfulness Teacher and to run 8-week Mindfulness courses in force, training 100 officers and staff in Mindfulness.
This was completed and evaluated and showed success in reduction in stress, and improvement in work productivity and people had better quality sleep. This research was picked up by the College of Policing who funded Jenni to create a bespoke 8-week online Mindfulness course, which was then piloted and evaluated by them. This showed that Mindfulness was beneficial in many ways.
It was one of the first pieces of work to be adopted by Oscar Kilo back in 2017 and it was rolled out nationally via the Oscar Kilo website and since then, a further 3,361 people have signed up for the course.
And so this award goes to Jenni and to Bedfordshire Police for being innovative and being one of the first within policing to create an online learning package that provides officers and staff with access to mindfulness tools and techniques to help them deal with the pressures and the reality of policing today.