There is increasing evidence that poor health and wellbeing in the organisation generates stress-related absence and reduced productivity (Boag & Munroe, 2017). Further research indicates that UK police forces are experiencing an escalation in sick leave associated with psychological causes (BBC, 2016; Guingand, 2015).

Supported by government departments, many UK police forces have attempted to address these issues over recent years. To assist learning, consistency and good practice, the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework was devised. In June 2018, the University of Central Lancashire was commissioned to analyse this database, specifically to:

  • Obtain an understanding of the existing, national stance of wellbeing within policing;
  • Look for consistent themes and issues, together with a gap analysis across existing frameworks;
  • Identify best practice, opportunities, risks and threats to police wellbeing;
  • Inform the National Service specification for the National Police Wellbeing Service on the opportunities to progress improvements.

The subsequent report is presented in five sections:

Section 1: Introduction; outlining the need for such an approach.
Section 2: Literature review; providing an overview of the current position of wellbeing within the police context.
Section 3: Method; explaining the approach used to analyse the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework, which included both quantitative (SPSS) and qualitative (NVivo) analysis.
Section 4: Results; reporting anonymised quantitative and qualitative findings from the framework.
Section 5: Discussion; analysing the findings and discussing their implications, moving forward.

The report shows that 18 frameworks from UK police forces were analysed, with all data being treated anonymously. This provided data on 94 specific questions across six specific areas of police wellbeing. 1437 answers were provided, out of a possible 1692 (84.92%), with 89 pieces of evidence uploaded.

Using an assessment criteria of under-developed (0), in development (1) and fully developed (2), each force could be assigned a development score ranging between 0-188, whereby 0 represented an under-developed force and 188 represents a fully developed force.

Scores ranged from 17 to 147, with a median average of 118.5. The explanation underpinning this score is provided in detail. The qualitative element explored the content provided in the ‘notes and evidence’ sections of the framework, with approximately 94,000 words available for analysis.

Four broad themes were identified: Development; Organisational learning; Policy and process; and Staff support and the working environment.

Use the link below to access the full findings from the interim report in detail.

Full Report