One of the main themes we hear from victims’ personal experiences is the importance of meaningful welfare support both in the initial early stages and ongoing longer-term support. We need to think beyond physical injury and be mindful of the psychological impact of being assaulted. Whilst we have not defined precisely what welfare support is for Operation Hampshire, we should consider it in its broadest sense and treat each case on an individual basis, considering how the incident will affect the victim both in and outside the workplace.
In the early stages the incident supervisor and welfare officer may be dual roles if appropriate. The welfare officer should ideally be the officer’s immediate line manager but can be a colleague. Police and staff victims often downplay any personal impact post event, believing they must show fortitude and resilience. Both the physical and psychological impact of an incident or series of incidents should be considered. Welfare officers will take responsibility for maintaining meaningful and regular contact with the officer and providing welfare updates to the team inspector.
- Provide the officer/member of staff with regular contact.
- Manage immediate welfare needs of the individual including facilitating contact with family, transport and clothing.
- Ensure the victim’s duties/responsibilities provide sufficient time for recovery.
- Maintain welfare contact logs.
- Liaise with the OIC to ensure progress is communicated to both management and victim.
- Support and progress the officer’s/member of staff’s return to work appropriately.
Game changing advice
- Think about the impact of trauma. Would the officer/staff member or any of their colleagues as a group benefit from a trauma support assessment? (contact the OH duty manager to discuss).
- Be intrusively supportive. Is all as it appears?
- Consider the impact on the victim’s family and home life. This is often overlooked.
- Keep the officer up to date on team news and other information such as job opportunities, promotion processes.
- Include them in opportunities to catch up with colleagues.
- Consider additional support that can be provided outside of the force by police organisations such as Oscar Kilo, Police Care UK, Police Mutual, PFEW, unions, staff associations.
- Consider the support that the PFEW, unions and staff associations can provide.
- Are there issues that need to be de-briefed that can assist organisational learning?