The toolkit has been developed by those currently working in the field, and takes into consideration the different challenges police communicators are likely to face, such as major incidents, dealing with on-call duties and sleep deprivation, team resilience and agile working, tragedy involving children, or triggering incidents such as sexual assaults of domestic abuse.
The aim is to provide a rage of advice, practical tips and shared experiences for those who are often exposed to significantly harmful material and investigation details as police officers, but don’t have the same training and mechanisms in place to deal with it.
Aptly named the Police Communicators Wellbeing Toolkit, it was created after it was identified that there was a gap in the current guidance for support specifically tailored to communications staff and was built upon feedback from people working in police communications roles.
The toolkit has been designed digitally to ensure it’s as simple as possible to access.
Service Director for Oscar Kilo, Andy Rhodes said: “Police communicators play a crucial and significant role in supporting policing and public safety. They operate in a challenging environment and are often exposed to traumatic events whilst managing high demand and stressful workloads. We hope that this toolkit will provide police communicators, their line managers and leaders with the tools they need to build up their resilience to continue doing the critical job that they do.”
APComm Co-Chair Ruth Shulver said: “We’re really pleased and proud to have played a key role with Oscar Kilo in bringing this valuable wellbeing toolkit to fruition. Working in police comms, our colleagues are part of the operational response, they are often deployed to scenes; provide communication support to victims, families and witnesses; view distressing material such as CCTV and body worn video, respond to critical and major incidents and operate under significant pressure and scrutiny. We recognise this can have a negative impact mentally and emotionally on wellbeing, both following individual incidents but also due to the cumulative impact of our work. We hope this easy reference guide helps support our communication officers across the country.”
APComm Co-Chair Kate Quilley added: “This guide is not a substitute for the professional support staff can receive from their health and wellbeing teams, line manager and organisational staff networks found in their own policing organisations. However, we envisage the guide will positively complement existing available support and can act as a reference point should a police comms member of staff need some wellbeing support. We hope the guide will benefit new starters in the role, supervisors who can signpost their staff to it and heads of comms who may feel, despite all their experience in the role, that they also need some guidance and advice. It really is a product worth exploring and another great tool APComm is proud to offer as part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the well-being and welfare of all members.”
Later in the year, a summary of the toolkit will be available as a PDF document which can be adapted at a local level, or used to complement existing support locally.