It is inevitable that traumatic incidents will occur in policing and it is important to recognise that these may not be viewed, felt or experienced in the same way by everyone. Indeed, individual officers and staff may be surprised by their own responses to such events.

However, organisationally it is essential to have a plan to deal with a range of trauma related situations and responses if policing is to carry out its role in protecting society.

Working with Public Health England, we have conducted a review of existing early intervention approaches, and together with expert consultation designed a model that reflects current best practice in early interventions for trauma. 

The Trauma Risk Management live service is built around the Emergency Services Trauma Intervention Programme (ESTIP) and consists of the following components:

  • Phase 1 – Demobilising (Train the Trainer courses);
  • Phase 2 – Defusing (Train the Trainer courses);
  • Phase 3 –  ESTIM debriefing for OK Peers Supporters;
  • Phase 4 – Structured Interview training.

Forces who wish to use ESTIP require authority from the force lead to establish a Wellbeing Peer Support Network, allowing individuals to be trained in the Peer Support for Wellbeing process a prerequisite to be trained in Phase 3 – ESTIM. 

Forces are also required to appoint an ESTIP lead who will have responsibility for overseeing the clinical and organisational governance of the programme within their force.

What we offer

Phase 1 – Demobilising

This training is for Wellbeing Peer Supporters or Line Managers.

Demobilisation is a primary stress prevention conversation that takes place following a traumatic exposure.  It involves a short conversation which lasts around 5-10 minutes.  Although normally carried out by a Supervisor following a major incident, the role may fall to a Peer Supporter. This wellbeing check and support session will enable a decision to be made on the need for a follow-up defusing session.

Phase 2 – Defusing

This training is for Wellbeing Peer Supporters or Line Managers.

Defusing is generally provided soon after exposure to a traumatic incident.  It helps to assess who may need further help and support.  Defusing is a small group process but is less structured and is normally aimed at the core group who have been most affected by the incident. Typically, groups of six to eight can be brought together with a defuser, usually a Line Manager or Peer Supporter to hold a defusing session. Individual one to one sessions can be carried out if required.

Phase 3 – ESTIM Debriefing

This training is for Wellbeing Peers Supporters supported by an Occupational Health Clinician.

Not all traumatic incidents will require an ESTIM intervention. The necessity of an intervention will depend on the nature of the incident and the impact on those involved, and in many cases a demobilising and defusing will be sufficient. Before providing an ESTIM intervention, an impact assessment should be conducted to determine whether it is required.  An ESTIM intervention can be provided from 3 – 14 days after an incident.

An ESTIM intervention can be delivered in either a group or individual format, and is Peer Supporter led, supported by an OH clinician.  Group interventions are the recommended default format, as they can provide an opportunity to draw on the shared experiences and facilitate social support. Group and individual interventions follow the same structure and basic process, but with some adaptations in implementation.

The ESTIM Intervention focuses on facts, thoughts, reactions, symptoms and follows through to psycho-education and closes with coping and future focus.

Individuals who attend an ESTIM intervention will also receive follow-ups two – four weeks later to check recovery progress.

Phase 4 – Structured Interview Training

This training is for Occupational Health Professionals.

The final element of the model is for those individuals who are showing signs of trauma after the ESTIM intervention and after a follow-up.  They can be invited to undertake a Psychological Screen to establish what further intervention may be required to support them.

Availability and Booking

Between April 2020 and March 2021 the following work has been scheduled:

  • Four, one day Phase 1 and 2 Demobilising and Defusing Train the Trainer courses;
  • Three five day Phase 3 ESTIM debriefing courses for Wellbeing Peer Supporters;
  • Six one day Phase 4 Structured Interview training courses, as part of the Psychological Risk Management live service.

Details of all our training and events will be made available on our Events page.

Forces will receive invitations to attend workshops. Booking onto the sessions can be done directly with the team member who sends the invitation, via the website or by emailing