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 the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), 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.
Our trauma risk management programme is built around ESTIP and consists of the following phases:
Demobilising and defusing training
This one-day training course covers both demobilising and defusing. Please note, we are not currently running any online courses. This is due to a pilot we are currently running to develop a network of Demobilising and Defusing trainers within forces to enable greater access to this course. We will be contacting those forces who have requested training directly.
Demobilisation is a primary stress prevention conversation that takes places following a traumatic exposure. It involves a short conversation and though normally carried out by a supervisor following a traumatic incident, the role may also fall to a suitably trained peer supporter.
Defusing is provided around three days post incident. It helps 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. Groups will meet with a defuser, usually a line manager or peer supporter, to hold a defusing session. Individual one-to-one sessions can be held if required.
Demobilising and defusing training covers the following areas:
- what is traumatic stress
- organisational responses to traumatic stress
- listening and responding skills
- self care
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.