We are carrying out a research study to explore new ways of supporting police officers and staff across the country – and if you are a serving UK police officer, member of staff or volunteer in UK Policing – we want you to take part!  

Officers and staff are absolutely key to us understanding the real picture of how people doing your jobs day-in day-out, are really feeling at work.  

So we’re inviting you to test an app which helps you track and understand how you are feeling, and more importantly, what you can do to help improve those feelings.

It’s an app created by world leaders in the field of human behaviour, emotion and how feelings can affect the decisions you make.

Participation is completely anonymous and users will be asked to use the app over a ten day period. It requires no more than 2-3 traces per day, with each one taking 90 seconds – that’s five minutes per day. 

By getting involved, you are playing an important part in helping us to develop and provide wellbeing support that is relevant and will help you, and your force.

We’re going to be testing the app for four weeks starting from the 6th April, so if you want to take part – sign up now!  

Please note: When you sign up on the instinct traces app, you are doing so anonymously and therefore OK NPWS / Instinct Traces do not hold any personal information and cannot identify you. The app is not a mental health support system and if you feel you need further support, you should contact your force Occupational Health, EAP provider or, in cases where you feel you may need immediate support that isn’t available elsewhere, you can contact the Samaritans, your GP or your local crisis team.

How to get started

Firstly you must download the Instinct Traces app from the Apple Store or Google Play.

As the app does not record any personal information, we require those taking part to define their profession within the police service. This will help identify the emotional trends and patterns in across the different service roles. Not only will this provide a detailed understanding of how people feel in the police service, but this will allow the team of experts to be able to pinpoint where support may need to be focused. 

So, when you download it, please use one of the following codes that best describes your current role:

Police Officer3760275
Police Staff – Frontline (e.g. PCSO/CSI)7038519
Police Staff – Support functions
(Office based roles – e.g. HR/Fleet/Admin)
Police Volunteer – Frontline
(Specials/Community Support)
Police Volunteer – Support functions (Office based roles)9039241

Reminder: Please only take part if you fall into one of the above categories – do not take part if you are not currently serving within the UK police force.

You are only asked to enter your birth year, gender and county, but this information is not associated with any specific user. Much like recording your profession, this helps understand trends and patterns across the police service. You will not be identified as an individual in any way. 

Please note – as a gentle reminder to log your traces, the app can send you a notification at approximately 12pm and 6pm each day. You opt in to this when you download the app by selecting ‘allow notifications’ – If you are working shifts or these times are inconvenient for you then leave the ‘allow notifications’ option switched off.

If you turn them on but change your mind – notifications can still be turned on or off at any point – all you need to do is go into your phone settings and disable notifications on the instinct traces app, in the same way you would with any other app that has push notifications.

The animation below gives an overview on how to use the app.

More about the app

The app we are using is called ‘Instinct Traces’. It is developed by a company called Instinct Laboratory who are experts in studying human beings and how we all make decisions. They are partnering with us to understand more about how we all feel by using the Instinct Traces app.

But ‘Instinct Traces’ is much more than just an app – it is a behavioural diagnostics tool for understanding human emotion and decision making. 

It’s not just reliant on algorithms – behind the app is a team of human behavioural scientists studying, interpreting and understanding the information they gather. 

How does it work?

The app allows you to anonymously input your own energy and performance levels to give you a picture of how you’re feeling throughout the day.

It will also provide you with a comparison of how you are feeling with other people within UK policing who are using the app too. Immediate feedback will be provided to help you understand if your feelings are normal, above or below average.

This is completely anonymous and you are asked to use the app each day for a ten-day period to record how you are feeling.  

It requires 2-3 traces per day, with each trace taking 90 seconds, just 5 minutes per day in total! This means it will take less than one hour over the ten days, so it is quick and easy to use. 

The trial of the app is going to be open for a three-week period.

Who should take part?

This is only open to all serving officers, staff and volunteers in UK police forces. 

We believe, it is important that we learn from those people doing the job day in day out so that we shape wellbeing support and services that will really benefit you in the long term.

This particular app has already been used by military personnel, elite athletes, surgical staff, business leaders and students, so it is a tried and tested, confidential way of better understanding how people feel. 

Who holds the information and what do they do with it?

Instinct Laboratory are the company that created the ‘Instinct Traces’ app and will hold and interpret the information. As it is anonymous, it will not hold any personal data. We won’t be able to identify any specific user whatsoever. 

The information gathered will be used to provide an entire picture of overall wellbeing, performance and challenges and will pinpoint where support may need to be focused.

It will result in a full report outlining underlying trends for wellbeing, energy levels and decision-making logic across different ages and types of officers and staff. 

The end result will be a formal report and a summary of possibilities and recommendations to help officers and staff across the service improve what we do in the future. 


These downloadable posters can be used to promote the trial within your force.

Who are Instinct Laboratory?

Instinct Laboratory are a team of behavioural scientists, researchers and creative designers who all work together to identify and solve some of the biggest human challenges.

With over 15 year’s experience in studying human behaviour they have worked within policing, government, education, military, elite sports and healthcare providers.

Find out more on their website www.instinctlaboratory.com