The annual Police Care UK and Oscar Kilo Upbeat! conference last week saw the launch of the inaugural Oscar Kilo Awards.

The Oscar Kilo awards have been created to recognise the amazing work that is being done across UK policing when it comes to providing wellbeing support for the workforce.

The team was astounded by the creativity and innovation shown in the entries and it is clear that we have some very committed and dedicated staff, from frontline to senior leadership, who are making a real difference to the people they work with.

The criteria for entering the awards were based around the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework and awards were presented in five categories; Personal Resilience, Mental Health, Leadership, Creating the Environment and Protecting the Workforce.

We were looking for projects or initiatives that were well researched, reflected the GAIN model, were affordable and scalable and finally, and most importantly, had had a beneficial effect on the workforce.

Every single one of the entries made a real impact on the judging panel and made the selection process very complex, which while difficult for the judges, also really encouraged them to know that there is such fantastic work going on.

As a result of the quality of the entries, the judges made the decision to award ‘Highly Commended’ to each force that entered for an award. They are:

  • Cleveland Police for their campaigns to reduce stigma around mental health
  • Lancashire Constabulary for a suite of wellbeing programmes including the increase in training and support offered through a new occupational health programme, contemplation rooms, and the introduction of a wellbeing app.
  • Derbyshire Constabulary for the development of their wellbeing strategy and action plan and a mental health awareness campaign.
  • Devon and Cornwall Police for their healthy lifestyle programme
  • Humberside Police for their wellbeing and mental health review
  • Avon and Somerset Constabulary for supporting physical wellbeing and the introduction of sustainable fitness spaces for all staff
  • Thames Valley Police for their Criminal Justice Wellbeing Programme
  • South Wales Police for their ‘Dragons Den’ programme and Health and Wellbeing Awareness Raising Roadshow

 

The Winners

Personal Resilience

Staffordshire Police – ‘Are you getting enough’ campaign

Problems sleeping are common for emergency responders. According to research in the US 53% of police get less than 6.5hrs of sleep daily, compared to 30% in the general working population.

The Working Time Directive survey undertaken in 2016 identified that 82% of respondents were suffering with ‘poor sleep’. The Staffordshire police mobile wellbeing bus visits during 2015 also highlighted sleep problems as an issue for shift workers.

As a result of these findings, they launched the ‘Are you Getting Enough’ campaign.

All staff were provided with the opportunity to complete an online sleep health assessment and receive a personalised report on their sleep habits.  All staff also had access to a ‘sleep portal’ via the intranet which provided staff with more information and helpful advice.  An initial confidential survey was undertaken by Third Pillar of Health, which enabled the creation of a report on the organisation’s needs.

The initiative was available to all staff and officers. Each employee had the opportunity to undertake the online ‘3 minute’ sleep health self-assessment and were able to download their own personalised 2 page report with links to educational content.

Personal resilience benefits can include mitigating against several sleep deprivation impacts, such as: Impaired decision making in complex, stressful situations; reduction in ones’ ability to self-monitor; rreduction of perspective and understanding; narrowing perception, increases in anxiety, fearfulness, irritability and hostility; and worsening mood. Therefore, this initiative deserves the recognition of winning the Personal Resilience category.

 

Mental Health

Kent & Essex Police – ‘Feel Well Live Well’ programme

In the workplace, the science indicates that how an individual is looked after can have a profound effect on their mental wellbeing. As the saying goes, there is no health without mental health.

Through numerous elements of research, learning and best practice examples the Feel Well Live Well programme has been specifically designed and internally developed in order to promote individuals’ wellbeing in the challenging environment of policing.

The essence of the Feel Well Live Well is about continuing to respond to the demand and need of officers and staff to ensure they have a good experience which will have a positive impact on how they manage day to day stressors, including the demands applicable to policing.

The programme provides tools and techniques for personal resilience, leadership, psychological wellbeing and aid in the reduction of mental health stigma.

1651 individuals have attended the programme, a further 186 have attended the leaders programme, and 865 have engaged with either the refresher or the taster sessions. This equates to 14.5% of both organisations having attended the full Feel Well Live Well programme and 23% have engaged with some form of wellbeing initiative provided by the internal Counselling and Wellbeing teams.

Kent and Essex police reported that the reduction of stigma for mental health has been astounding to witness. As such Kent and Essex Police are the deserved winners of the Mental Health category.

 

Leadership

Lincolnshire Police – Force-wide culture change wellbeing programme.

Lincolnshire Chief Constable Bill Skelly has set two objectives as part of the force strategic plan. These are quality of service to the public and the wellbeing of his people.

The force vision is the establishment of a holistic wellbeing ethos that recognises the importance of physical and mental health as well as feeling valued and being engaged in the mission of the force.

In order to deliver the ethos change and to change the wellbeing focus from reactive, i.e., picking people up when they are broken, to proactive, and focusing on prevention, self-help and early intervention to avoid escalation, the Chief Constable recognised the change needed by leaders in the force, to be delivered from the top, with a strong message regarding the importance of wellbeing – which is why the strategic objective on wellbeing carrys as much weight as that on quality of service.

Part of the monthly 1-2-1 meetings between line managers & staff is an element of wellbeing and ensuring that these conversations have meaning.

The most significant effect of the change has been that officers and staff now believe they have an organisation that cares about wellbeing.

Lincolnshire Police are experiencing an increase in open discussions about previously ‘taboo’ subjects such as effects of the menopause, how mental health affects us at work and what help people are getting to maintain or improve their mental health.

The result of this is a firm foundation from which to build an even more effective wellbeing programme in future and therefore we felt they were worthy of wining the Leadership category.

 

Creating the Environment

Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies – Collaborative workplace health and wellbeing service

In the past 18 months, Norfolk and Suffolk have launched a highly effective Employee Assistance Programme, Wellbeing Masterclasses, Wellbeing Champions, Specialist trauma services and a wellbeing self-assessment tool.

This service reaches around 6000 officers and staff across both counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and aims to help officers and staff stay well at work, return to work or have a dignified exit from the organisation.

Using the GAIN model helped them to evidence that services should be aimed at the majority of the workforce, those who are coping and still at work, in order to gain the most effective outcomes.

Therefore the services they have implemented in the last 18 months have been mapped against this to ensure that services are available to all officers and staff, depending on what stage of the model they are at.

The new services now provides a clear pathway to support officers and staff throughout their career with both Constabularies. It also is designed to reach much more of the organisation than previous services and therefore supports officers and staff to remain well at work before reaching crisis. A very worthy winner of the Creating the Environment category.

 

Protecting the Workforce

Police Service of Northern Ireland – Therapy dogs for PTSD

Before the introduction of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a diagnosis in 1980, it was not formally recognised that highly stressful events could sometimes have long-lasting psychological consequences. There is no simple definition of a traumatic event, but it usually refers to an event or series of events that causes, or threaten to cause, death, injury, or violation.

This may be directly experienced, witnessed, or in some cases viewed on screen, for example, repeated exposure to distressing images – PTSD is one reaction to such extreme stress; however, there are other responses, including anxiety and major depression.

There are different ways to diagnose PTSD, but in essence the diagnosis requires the presence of three types of symptom: re-experiencing the event or events in the form of vivid and powerful images (flashbacks) or dreams; avoidance of reminders of the event or of thinking about specific aspects of the event; and hyperarousal involving a continuing sense of threat (even though the event is in the past) which is visible in reactions such as being constantly on guard or being easily startled. Therefore, this is a truly awful experience.

PSNI recognised that employees with psychological injury often struggled with tasks and duties that others may have found simple or insignificant. For some employees with PTSD or Generalised Anxiety Disorder simply coming to work in a police station and being surrounded by the emergency services sights and sounds could be completely overwhelming. The aims of the initiative were:

  • To support a valued employee to stay and remain in work despite a diagnosis of psychological injury
  • To demonstrate that PSNI is progressive and innovative in its delivery of solutions that work so all employees can feel supported and valued
  • To make use of learning from national and international best practice and to adopt an evidence-based approach to wellbeing
  • To reduce the stigma around mental health and PTSD
  • To increase discussion and dialogue about emotional wellbeing and psychological injury in the workplace
  • To demonstrate to our colleagues, partners and members of the public that psychological injury is a very real risk in policing, but that it can be effectively and simply managed within the workplace
  • To demonstrate that simple initiatives can and do often have the most profound and far reaching impact on people’s lives.

In June 2018 a therapy dog, ‘Coco,’ was welcomed to the PSNI family as a ‘reasonable adjustment’ and therapeutic aide to support one of their officers and as a result, we felt that they would be very worthy winners of this category.

Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said, “The whole Oscar Kilo Team want to say a huge thank you to everyone for taking the time and effort to make nominations for these awards.

“It’s so important that we recognise the huge commitment and dedication by forces up and down the country to provide support to the men and women who work for us and do what is nothing short of amazing day in day out to protect the public.”