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Emergency services trauma intervention programme (ESTIP)

It is inevitable that traumatic incidents will occur in policing and it is important to recognise that these may not be viewed, felt or experienced in the same way by everyone. This is why we have developed a suite of materials and interventions to support forces to provide trauma and psychological risk support for all staff.

However, organisationally it is essential to have a plan to deal with a range of trauma related situations and responses if policing is to carry out its role in protecting society.

Working in collaboration with Public Health England (PHE), we have conducted a review of existing early intervention approaches, and together with expert practitioners, designed a model that reflects the needs of the emergency services. 

The trauma and post-incident risk management live service is built around ESTIP and consists of the following four phases:

Phase 1: Demobilising

Demobilisation is a primary stress prevention conversation that takes place following a traumatic exposure. It involves a short conversation, which lasts around 5-10 minutes. Normally carried out by a supervisor following a major incident, the role may fall to a suitably trained peer supporter. 

Phase 2: Defusing

Defusing is provided three days after exposure to a traumatic incident. It helps to assess who may need further help and support. Defusing is a small group process; less structured and aimed at the core group affected the most by the incident. Typically, groups of six to eight meet with a defuser, usually a line manager or peer supporter to hold a defusing session. Individual one to one sessions can be conducted if required. 

Phase 3: Supervisor wellbeing

This training has been developed to enable line managers to recognise the nature and causes of traumatic stress so they can recognise the main symptoms of trauma in others.

It provides an introduction to demobilising and defusing, helping leaders deal with the impact of trauma, on their teams, following a traumatic incident. Delegates will also be introduced to the benefits of peer support for wellbeing.

Individuals will be trained to use a simple stress management tool which will help them identify personal and organisational stressors within their teams.  

Phase 4: Post incident support

This is a peer-led programme of support for officers and staff who are subject to post incident procedure, IOPC or PSD investigations.

The programme provides training to support colleagues with demobilisation and remobilisation techniques to allow them to reflect and return to work in a safe, controlled and appropriate manner.



Availability and booking

All elements of our ESTIP training are available as stand-alone packages, but we recommended the organisation completes the training in the following order.

Peer support for wellbeing

  • Wellbeing coordinator training course.


  • Demobilising and defusing is a combined, one-day online training course aimed at peer supporters and/or line managers.

Should you feel that your organisation already has some of the appropriate measures in place please contact us for advice. 

Supervisor wellbeing

  • This is a half day course providing training in a simple stress management tool which can be used to identify both personal and organisational stressors in teams.

Courses are arranged directly with the forces who want to adopt the post trauma risk management programme (or part of it).


Further reading

Together with the College of Policing, we have published a guidance document ‘Responding to trauma in policing’. The document, originally published in 2018, has been updated to reflect the current policing landscape, including responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Written by Dr Ian Hesketh and Dr Noreen Tehrani, this guidance represents a significant step forward in the journey to improve our understanding of how trauma exposure affects those who work in policing. 

Download guidance