Op Hampshire provides a strategy, processes and guidance to help us respond more effectively to assaults on police officers and staff.
Why do we need it?
Policing is a unique occupation. We are there to protect the public and in doing so, we are often required to deal with confrontation, aggression and violence in some of the most unpredictable of scenarios.
Being assaulted is a hazard that we face because of the job we do – but assaults shouldn’t be accepted as ‘just part of the job’.
We need to recognise that any assault on duty is a serious matter and we need to treat those affected as victims of crime.
We must understand that what one officer shrugs off as business as usual – another will find extremely difficult and may need additional support.
With around 30,000 assaults on our colleagues across the UK last year, it is important that we do all we can to support forces to follow their duty of care to protect your wellbeing and provide you with the support you deserve.
While Op Hampshire was introduced as a response to physical assaults, the principles of good leadership and victim care apply to all offences against our colleagues and this includes hate crime. We must be alive to the impact of all offences against our colleagues and provide a meaningful and effective response.
This is why Op Hampshire has now been made a formal part of Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service.
Why is there a national project for this?
We want to ensure that every officer or member of staff gets the best support possible. The national project is looking at best practice and sharing information between forces so that we have consistency across the UK.
What has been happening so far?
Forces have committed to developing their Op Hampshire processes. The initiative has been fully supported by the PFEW, NPCC, College of Policing and staff unions.
Every force in the UK has joined a network to help share learning. Guidance material and events are being help for the peer network so that processes and activities can be enhanced or introduced to individual forces where necessary.
There is a single point of contact for every force as an operational lead – They will be able to provide you with specifics for how your force is developing.
We are also offering inputs to forces to help inform managers and frontline supervisors that Op Hampshire is here and that we are all committed.
There is an increasing focus on wellbeing for the policing family. This is evident in the work of Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service, and the improvements that are being driven by the Officer Staff Safety Review and the advent of the Police Covenant.
Op Hampshire now sits firmly with Oscar Kilo which provides a central home and will make access to guidance and support more available to you.
What this all adds up to, is that forces are committed to providing the best support possible for their workforce, there is a consistent approach for forces to follow, there is an expectation that we deliver and that you and your colleagues have a point of reference for information and guidance.
We all have a responsibility in this and police forces across the country are setting out guidance and standards for supervisors to follow, but it is important that you understand what should happen if you have been the victim of an assault.
I have been the victim of an assault, what can I expect to happen?
Ideally if Op Hampshire is in place in your force you should expect the following:
- A local supervisor should be made aware that you have been assaulted. There is no time limit to this as it will depend on the circumstances. However, if it isn’t obvious that someone knows what has happened, you or a colleague should let someone know as soon as possible.
- A supervisor should contact you to find out how you are? What sort of injuries do you have? Do you need medical care? What were the circumstances? Has the suspect been arrested? This information will be recorded and your wellbeing in the early stages will be taken care of.
- A supervisor should ascertain whether you need any ongoing support or whether any of your other responsibilities need to be handed over so that you have time to recover.
- Ideally you should not write your own statement but this will vary depending on the assault and the availability of colleagues. If able you should complete original notes to justify your actions as they are important evidentially but they can be relatively brief. The statement should be more detailed and a colleague should take the time to capture the detail including the impact it has had on you – the victim.
- Your assault needs to be accurately recorded. It’s best that you don’t do this yourself. It is part of the initial investigation and it can cause issues later on. Someone should record it for you.
- You must not investigate your own assault nor should you interview the suspect who assaulted you. Someone should be assigned to do this and those arrangements will be made by a supervisor. You should know who the investigating officer is and they should keep you informed of the progress of the investigation.
- An officer (supervisor or colleague) can be provided if you need additional support longer term. If you go sick as a result someone should keep in contact with you.
- You should be informed of what happens to the suspect. If no further action is taken, the investigating officer should contact you to discuss this. Similarly, if the case is discontinued, as a victim you are entitled to request a Victim’s Right to Review (VRR) to challenge the decision. This should also be discussed.
- All assault cases should be reviewed by your local senior managers to ensure the process is being followed and more importantly that you are receiving the support and contact you deserve.
With every force engaged in the Op Hampshire network the commitment to improving is strong and we have the highest level of support.
We will continue to share knowledge and develop our responses so that in future we do the very best we can to ensure you feel supported. This is something that we all have a part to play in.
It starts with a senior level of commitment and direction but it really comes down to treating every assault with care and considering the impact not just the injury. There is a senior point of contact in each force who can provide further information about how Op Hampshire is developing in your particular area.
If you want to know more, or find out who your Op Hampshire contact is in your force, drop us a line – firstname.lastname@example.org