The Oscar Kilo Awards have been created to recognise the amazing work that has been done, and continues to be done, to provide wellbeing support across UK policing.
On this page we will be telling you about the fantastic work carried out by each of the winning projects, sharing your winning ideas, learnings, and best practice.
The awards are judged and reflect the seven areas of the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework (BLWF):
- absence management
- creating the environment
- mental health
- personal resilience
- protecting the workforce
- occupational health
Each winning project strongly met the criteria for the awards evidencing that the project:
- is evidence-based, both in terms of the audience to be targeted and the messages to be conveyed
- referenced the GAIN model in its planning and application
- has been evaluated and can show evidence of it having had a beneficial effect on changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour
- can be scaled up whilst maintaining quality and being cost-effective
If you wish to know more about the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework and the categories visit our page
Congratulations to all our winners:
Winner: South Yorkshire Police: OK9 Wellbeing Dogs
The South Yorkshire Police OK9 Wellbeing and Trauma Support dogs are a cohort of canine companions who visit teams and colleagues across the force to provide a wellbeing boost. They can also be deployed to meetings and de-briefs following serious incidents, to help get people talking in the aftermath of traumatic events.
The dogs are specially selected for the role and the handlers selected for their ability to engage with others. They are all Mental Health First Aiders or Peer Support trained to provide empathy, guidance and signposting where required.
Handlers are abstracted from their normal duty once a month to undertake the role of Wellbeing and Trauma Support Dog handler. They are allowed to undertake the role once a month on a rest day, this generates capacity for between 24 and 48 visits each month.
Visits are booked via the dogs’ dedicated SYP intranet page, and there is also a dedicated email inbox for any general enquiries. Anyone in any team – officers or staff - can book a visit, and no SYP buildings or venues are off-limits. Supervisors are also encouraged to make booking requests for visits on behalf of their teams, or even an off-site ‘walk and talk’ visit on behalf of an individual who is having a difficult time, if appropriate.
Chief Inspector Jayne Forrest from South Yorkshire Police said "OK9 is a permanent addition to our wellbeing toolkit and not a concept. It is something that will continue to evolve and grow."
South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Lauren Poultney with Chief Inspector Jayne Forrest and OK9 Wellbeing dog Buddy with their Leadership award.
Winner: Cheshire Constabulary: Specialist psychological wellbeing programme
Cheshire Constabulary’s psychological wellbeing programme is designed to support participants to fulfil the demanding roles they perform through the provision of a holistic package of psychological wellbeing support.
Working in partnership with staff associations Federation and Unison and staff networks, the following activities form part of the overall programme:
- Bespoke psychologist services in place to support major Op Hummingbird investigation.
- Consultative support programme reviewed for high risk roles and revised pilot put in place.
- Pause Point implemented to encourage welfare conversation during performance conversations, the force appraisal process.
- Rapid access to psychological support introduced through occupational health provider for officers and staff displaying symptoms of stress and anxiety.
- Wellbeing webinars in place for high risk roles.
- Wellbeing steering group created chaired by DCC. Wellbeing allies scheme reviewed and the role of wellbeing champion introduced at Inspector level or above and additional allies recruited to increase peer to peer support across all areas of the force.
- 83 mental health first aiders in place across the force to provide peer support
- Preventative programme of care provided through the NWPB fund following exposure to trauma.
- Fast track counselling through North Staffs Mind is provided locally at force LPU’s following traumatic incidents.
- The Constabulary’s eight point promise’ reviewed to include three C’s to demonstrate the Care, Compassion and Commitment in place along with a care plan to provide physical and psychological support for officers and staff subjected to assault and hate crime.
- Weekly long covid support group created to respond to concerns of officers and staff.
- Calendar of wellbeing events targeted to improve mental health i.e. stress awareness, suicide awareness.
- Oscar Kilo building personal resilience webinars launched in force.
- PERMA forms part of training for IPLDP, PCDA and new detective training.
The programme has had a positive impact on the engagement of police officers and staff in relation to the Force’s commitment to provide locally delivered support.
The psychological wellbeing programme is intrinsically linked to the Chief Constables Plan on a Page and People Strategy to develop a culture and environment that fosters employee wellbeing and builds resilience for our police officers and police staff.
Deb Tilbury, Specialist HR Business Partner from the Wellbeing, Engagement and Inclusion Team, receiving her award from Deputy Chief Constable Chris Armitt.
Winner: Lincolnshire Police: Musculoskeletal injury research
Lincolnshire police carried out a research project looking at musculoskeletal injuries and issues in their workforce, identifying any commonality or concern, and then considering the impact of tactical vests and load bearing on the wearer.
A lab-study was conducted at the University of Lincoln’s sports centre, assessing the way in which Lincolnshire Police officers’ bodies interacted with operationally loaded tac vests (and body armour). Specialist technology was used to monitor the movement of participants and to look at posture and gait. Findings identified that the fit of the tac vests was placing strain on the neck and postural muscles and generated a whiplash type effect of around 40%. As a direct result of these findings the tac vest was redesigned, with Arktis Ltd, improving the fit and alleviating the strain.
In August 2021 the new design was tested with Lincolnshire Police officers, again using the technical facilities at the University of Lincoln’s sports centre. Studies also took place with another police force comparing the new vest with an all-in-one body armour and tac vest option and Lincolnshire Police’s existing dual layer system.
The project has a direct impact on participants by offering improved ergonomic kit, specifically designed to reduce musculoskeletal issues. The lab-testing has identified a measured improvement. Those being issued with the new style vest will be asked to provide feedback.
The overall measure of success for the project will be:
- A demonstrated reduction in sickness absence as a result of musculoskeletal issues
- A reduction in the number of musculoskeletal complaints in operational staff who remain in the workplace
- Qualitative feedback suggesting increased ease of undertaking physical tasks, such as running, that may be linked to improvements in the tactical vests
From left to right are Dr Franky Mulloy (Senior lecturer in biomechanics - University of Lincoln), Lauren Oliver (Health and care project manager - Lincolnshire Police), Stuart Cook (Business development director - Arktis) and Dr Matthew Ellison (Load carriage biomechanist – KTP associate working for the University of Lincoln and Arktis)
Runner up: Leicestershire Police: One year check in
Using data from the first Oscar Kilo National Wellbeing survey Leicestershire Police analysed the wellbeing scores for police officers across the service thresholds, this identified that wellbeing scores reduced significantly as police officers approached and moved past 12 months service. Through the emotional health and resilience wellbeing board they explored this issue more closely and designed an appropriate intervention to address this change. A team from different parts of the force came together as a group and developed the one year check in.
The one year check in is a resource specifically aimed at student officers approaching their 12 month service point. It contains videos, texts, animations, photos, and is organised in the following sections:
- You and your learning experience
- You and your police family
- You and your wellbeing
The aim is to remind student officers of the journey they have made so far in policing and the support that is available by using a variety of media, including videos of officers who have recently been in their position. The intended outcome is to improve wellbeing measures for officers approaching 12 months service, when a combination of factors may be challenging to their wellbeing. It will make them feel that they are being supported and recognised as having particular challenges unique to individuals in the early stage of their career.
It is easy to update and refresh so that content can be accurate and appropriate each time it is distributed. The idea can also be easily adapted to other departments, or target groups. It contains reminders about nutrition, sleep, alcohol, exercise, finances, emotional health and how to switch off after a shift.
Charlotte Dyer with her Oscar kilo award.
Winner: Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Police forces: Psychological Health Surveillance Programme
Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Police forces have developed this programme to be a new and effective way of monitoring and supporting the mental health of individuals’ working in identified high risk roles.
The psychological health surveillance programme screens approximately 1700 officers and staff across the three forces annually, and is integrated within their occupational health system (iKeepWell). A participant will log in and complete a set of questionnaires which screen for primary and secondary trauma, burnout, compassion satisfaction, anxiety, and low mood. It also identifies significant life changes and increased alcohol intake.
It is now embedded within the new occupational health system allowing both ease of use for individuals to log in and complete their questionnaire, and for clinicians to be able to triage, link to occupational health records and retain and use wider. The data is fed back on a team and organisational level and helps to identify early changes and trends which may need addressing. The programme includes two visits a year to each unit from the psychological health team who help support managers, break down any barriers and support individuals.
Every questionnaire is reviewed by the psychological health team providing call back for risk of suicidality and for high alcohol consumption in a safety critical role, providing support for the individual and allowing the organisation to respond to concerns when raised.
The screening programme also provides confidential feedback to the individual if low level changes are identified again allowing them to proactively manage their mental health and to come on for an appointment to discuss things further with the clinical team should they wish.
Creating the environment
Winner: Surrey Police and Sussex Police: Wellbeing collective
Over the last 12 months Surrey and Sussex have strived to deliver a more quality over quantity wellbeing offering across both forces. This has been achieved through a number of fresh, exciting and innovative approaches, importantly endorsed by both Chief Constables, that support colleagues 24/7 and has given a renewed feel that the organisation actually does care about their welfare and recognises the impact policing has on individuals.
Innovations include a new wellbeing hub on their intranet, refreshed launch of police chaplaincy, fortnightly wellbeing newsletter (Wellbeing Wednesday) and a successful delivery of our annual 'Wellbeing and You!' roadshow across both forces.
Wellbeing is now one of the top priorities on both forces and they are slowly changing the culture of it being ok not to be ok and to ask for help as a sign of strength rather than a perceived sign of weakness.
The wellbeing team give CPD input to teams across both forces allowing them to gain direct feedback and bridge any perceived gaps between the frontline and support management.
They now have a robust, fit for purpose wellbeing suite of support which is always under constant review as business needs change.
Back row – Kevin Coombes (Wellbeing Lead) and PC Sean Burridge (Wellbeing Consultant). Front row - David Holloway (Health Checks) – Frances Novillo (Lead Chaplain)
Creating the environment
Runner up: British Transport Police: Wellbeing strategy 'Brilliant Basics'
British Transport Police's wellbeing, health and safety strategy developed in 2020, sets the direction to build brilliant basics to promote a positive culture, strong safety leadership, collaborative working with stakeholders and putting people’s wellbeing at the forefront of delivery. To enable this a dedicated wellbeing team was introduced at BTP.
The Brilliant Basics project ensures that all employees are aware of the services available to support their wellbeing. The know how to access them and are aware that the force is creating an environment where they feel they are in a psychologically safe space and are willing to use the services highlighting. The usage rates and engagement activity evidence that they are successfully moving towards this and making a real change and difference to their people.
In 2021 they delivered the following to improve their wellbeing offer and deliver on their Brilliant Basics:
- Launch of the Wellbeing Hub
- Delivery of the Oscar Kilo wellbeing peer support programme, 93 peer support champions and supporters were trained across BTP. Domestic abuse champions, maternity buddies and Op Hampshire champions have been incorporated into the programme to enable a consistent approach, effective monitoring of trends and risks as well as supervision and support to our volunteers.
- Working with the Blue Light programme, and six local branches of Mind, they delivered a mental health for line managers training package to raise awareness and challenge stigma surrounding mental health in the emergency services.
- A wellbeing calendar of events, campaigns and health promotions has been developed and the wellbeing team delivered virtual workshops to employees covering a range of health and wellbeing topics, such as prostate cancer, thyroid awareness and suicide prevention and awareness.
- Introduced a financial wellbeing strategy, working in partnership with Police Mutual, Met Friendly and signposting through a financial wellbeing section on the wellbeing hub.
- They have upgraded the BTP Backup Buddy app (available on personal mobile phones) to provide wider holistic support.
- Improved the EAP service with the addition of a digital workplace wellbeing platform available online and via mobile devices
Winner: South Yorkshire Police: Mind over mountain
South Yorkshire Police (SYP) 'mind over mountain' initiative focuses on getting members of the policing family who may be experiencing mental health challenges into the great outdoors and walking in groups.
The project aims to protect the protectors and show people that they can re-focus and re-engage through spending time outside, meeting people with similar issues and talking through their problems at their own pace and with people that they can trust to listen and offer support without any judgement.
The mind over mountain project delivers walks in the peak district for teams and is open to all members of South Yorkshire Police, including volunteers and the special constabulary. Spending time outdoors has been proven by academic research to improve positive Wellbeing; allowing staff time to focus on the present and offers a respite from the normal working day.
The walks are led by specially trained officers who are actively completing their summer mountain leaders awards that have been funded by the organisation as well as Wellbeing champions who are all there to listen without judgement.
There are currently three formats of walks on offer, a closed walk specifically for a team who have been identified as having a wellbeing need, open walks which anyone can attend and individual walks that can be made available through occupational health referrals. The routes are specifically planned to be inclusive to all levels of fitness and the views are breath taking.
These walks are either done in duty time, or if done in staff’s own time then a day back is credited to them, this has had a positive response.
They have delivered walks to over 300 staff from across departments within SYP both police and police staff. The project was the first of its kind operating within a police service. The project has also been taken on by West Yorkshire Police.
Runner up: West Midlands Police: Wellbeing and multi-faith rooms
As police officers we are exposed to trauma and incidents that require an element of time out. West Midlands Police came up with the idea of creating a wellbeing space within the station to give officers and staff a place to go for some quiet time, or to liaise with one of our mental health first aiders if they needed a chat or a bit more support.
Their first wellbeing and multi faith room was created at Wolverhampton Police Station and the plan was if it was successful, was to raise funding to open similar rooms in other stations across the force.
Anyone can be affected by poor mental health so it was important to make this space as somewhere for our people to seek solace, reset themselves and be able to pray if required.
Mental health first aiders are now able to offer support to any individuals who need it, and are often called on from individuals who are using the room.
Success is seeing the rooms being well used, receiving positive feedback and knowing that people are looking after themselves.
Since the initial idea they have officially opened two of these rooms which have become very popular, and have enough furnishing to create another two at other locations.
Kelly Fellows Hale and Adam Davenport from West Midlands Police receiving their award
Protecting the workforce
Winner: Leicestershire Police: Menopause and peri-menopause project
Leicestershire Police have created an environment and culture that is menopause friendly, they didn’t want it to be a hidden health issue with people feeling they need to cope or suffer with in silence.
Through this initiative they have started to normalise the subject and conversations around menopause, to help their people feel it’s truly okay to be open and talk about how they are personally affected. Equally as importantly is that individuals can trust, believe and feel they will be understood and supported by the organisation, ensuring they continue to feel valued within #teamleicesteshire and not feel that they are passed their best but are valued as a person and contributor.
They tackled this this from two angles:
Given that there isn’t a national requirement for mandatory training, they chose to explore a simple learning resource which they could introduce as part of a range of resources being developed. An animation was created and is accessible from force devices.
A dedicated Menopause Button has been developed and sits within ‘Your Wellbeing’ on their intranet.
Within the top-level button there are various sections including:
- The force’s HR menopause guidance
- Common myths
- Management of menopause transition
- Menopause matters
- Talking to healthcare
- Let’s talk about your stories
- Holding sensitive conversations
- Menopause and nutrition
- Osteoporosis calcium calculator
- Workplace conversations
This resource is easily accessible for everyone, it is a single point where resources are easy to understand and are available at any time. It is also available on force hand-held devices.
Evaluation of both the animation and the button will assess depth of awareness and knowledge prior to viewing and after, whether the person has found it has expanded awareness, understanding and wellbeing, in the same way as can be seen presently around the information within the Menopause Button.
Yvonne Burge and Naomi Parry-Hall from Leicestershire Police in receipt of their OK Award in their memorial garden.
Protecting the workforce
Runner up: South Yorkshire Police: SYP&Me magazine – Wellness in the policing family
SYP&Me is a quarterly, 40-page internal magazine which is available in both digital and printed formats.
The continuing ethos of SYP&Me is that it is open to everybody. It’s created by the workforce, for the workforce - and beyond, as they ensure retired staff are also featured in each and every edition to ensure officers and staff, serving or retired, feel supported across the pillars of mental, physical, financial, and social health and wellbeing.
SYP&Me sources articles, ideas and contributors from a variety of sources. There are some regular features, such as a profile of a Wellbeing Champion and ‘Undercover Cook’ recipe section, while other pages are filled though requests or suggestions from colleagues. The vast majority of articles feature real-life SYP case studies from all ranks and roles, warranted and unwarranted, who want to pass on their stories and experiences in the hope it raises awareness and helps others.
SYP&Me has become a permanent publication and not a concept. It is a standalone product, and SYP will continue to produce a minimum of four editions each year. In addition, SYP&Me will continue to evolve and grow; it has, post-pandemic, moved to a physical publication as well as a digital publication and it may well increase in frequency over time too.
They coincide the magazine’s contents with national or international wellbeing themes relevant to the time of year, such as National Sleep Awareness Week (featuring an interview with their night owls in the force control room) and International Week of Happiness at Work (with input from a team of long-serving colleagues in the Criminal Justice Unit).
Quarterly, the magazine is distributed electronically to all staff through force wide email and via the force wellbeing app, Back Up Buddy. Each edition is announced via a front-page intranet notification and within that announcement there is an electronic link to the magazine as well as a teasing summary of its contents. Retired members receive an electronic version through their regional National Association of Retired Police Officers membership (NARPO).
Once again congratulations to all our winners.
If you, or a colleague, have completed, or are working towards the BLWF and have created a project or programme that is making a difference to your force, and is worthy of recognition, then think about entering the 2023 Awards. We will be looking for nominations in the autumn.