£7.5m Investment into better support for officers mental and physical health

A NEW £7.5m scheme aimed at helping police officers and staff who are suffering from mental and physical health issues has been launched by the College of Policing and National Policing Wellbeing Lead CC Andy Rhodes.

The National Police Wellbeing Service or ‘Oscar Kilo’ will provide outreach services, training and a toolkit which forces can use to support their officers and staff.

The scheme has been funded by The Home Office Transformation fund in bid to turn around recent College of Policing research suggesting frontline officers don’t have time or ‘consistent access’ to mental health and physical wellbeing advice and support.

CC Andy Rhodes said Oscar Kilo was ‘essential’ and that there was a huge amount to do ensure frontline officers feel supported.

“Emergency services staff work in an extremely challenging environment and are frequently exposed to traumatic events,” he said.

“Leadership at every level of each service must acknowledge this and ensure that our staff are recognised and valued for the work they do.

There is undoubtedly a great deal of pride in public service which motivates our staff to put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis, and we must match this with support from leadership.

“This is an essential undertaking, not only in order to be a responsible and caring employer, but also because we as a society have an obligation to look after the welfare of the men and women whose job it is to keep our communities safe.”

Police and mental health charities and Public Health England have all contributed to the scheme and HMICFRS now inspect forces on how they deliver on mental health provision.

“We are at the early stages of what needs to be a massive culture shift,” CC Rhodes added.

“Not only for leadership and management to get better at addressing the issues affecting their workforce, but in seeing a change in the way that staff perceive and consider their own physical, mental and social wellbeing.

“We have a huge amount to do if we are to reassure our frontline that the service is committed to picking them up when they struggle with their mental and physical health, but we have huge support from across the emergency services family.”

For more information on Oscar Kilo, visit https://oscarkilo.org.uk/