New plan to tackle stress

A national template for a new nine-point stress plan which aims to help forces better prioritise officer wellbeing has been launched by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW)

Health and safety representatives from all 43 branches of the Police Federation have been presented with the template and it has also been shared with the Scottish Police Federation, the Police Federation or Northern Ireland, the British Transport Police, the Civic Nuclear Constabulary and the Ministry of Defence.

Jason Kwee, national health and safety lead for the Federation, has been instrumental in pulling together the plan, which was presented at the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) health and safety working group and accepted in principle. 

“As a forum, we looked at what was in place to tackle stress in the workplace. We were only able identify one risk-based process to identify and reduce stress which was the HSE management standards (SMS),” Jason explains.
“Through consultations and surveys that were undertaken, we quickly identified that there were different levels of implementations across forces, some had real successes and other force policies hadn’t been updated for years.

“With the additional evidence from the national PFEW demand, capacity and welfare survey, we were able to back up what we already knew - there was not enough being done to support the welfare and mental health of our officers.”

He added: “We are asking all our health and safety leaders to have discussions with their respective chairs and secretaries and, of course, chief officers, as to how this may support their local wellbeing programme.”

With stress being one of the biggest reasons for absence, there is growing momentum to tackle the issue with initiatives from many stakeholders, including the NPCC, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the College of Policing’s Oscar Kilo initiative which is aiming to bring assessment, learning and conversation about wellbeing into one place.