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The Police Journal: Are we OK? The state of wellbeing in policing

Published 14 Mar 2022
Written by
Dr Ian Hesketh
National Police Wellbeing Service
Reading time
10 mins

Find out how pieces of academic work are helping the study of wellbeing in policing.

Having worked towards creating a National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS) for many years now, it is with great pride I introduce these pieces of academic work that make a fantastic contribution to the study of wellbeing in policing.

The first article (Bell et al) introduces why this field of study is so critical, outlining the prevalence of mental illness stigma within law enforcement. This is followed by a breakdown of the NPWS Blue Light Wellbeing Framework (BLWF) (Pythian et al), used to gauge police forces in the UK and their response to the key areas of wellbeing that have an evidence-based approach to improving the working lives of police officers and staff.

The following articles (Brown & Flemming, Tehrani, Newiss, et al) provide insight into the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on policing and support the key role wellbeing has in the policing sphere. The issue continues with a detailed view of specialist areas within policing, such as the investigation of serious crime (Cartwright & Roach) and the state of wellbeing-focused research in this realm.

What follows is a unique study of the role of service dogs as organisational support to officers and staff (Quick & Piza), a provision that is extremely popular within the NPWS, which we refer to as OK9.

Wellbeing is viewed through the health and fitness lens in the next article (Oliver et al) with a review of an app-based ’move more’ challenge carried out for the NPWS.

A key area of wellbeing research for the NPWS is the annual survey conducted by Durham University Business School, which together with the BLWF helps us to identify gaps in provision and monitor progress against objectives. In this paper (Graham et al) examine workplace stressors and the relationship with exhaustion and work engagement.

Innovative approaches to trauma are explored in the following paper (Miller et al), detailing the work to develop a trauma events checklist.

The final paper in this issue provides a systematic literature review of the work to date on posttraumatic stress in UK policing (Foley et al). A poignant reminder of why all of this work is critical to the wellbeing of the thousands of police officers and staff who keep us all safe.

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