Protect the Protectors - Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

A blog from PCC Martyn Underhill at the end of Mental Health Awareness Week highlighting a focus on police officer and staff welfare as well as outlining some of the current mental health work in Dorset

The pressure on policing is well documented. Police officers and staff often face challenging situations in carrying out their duties to protect the public. We ask a lot of our officers and I thank them for their ongoing commitment and dedication.

But for all the good work that is being done in the community, there comes a time when empathy and thanks are not enough to tackle the personal challenges that officers and staff face. We must ensure that mental health and wellbeing is central in all we do. We must ‘Protect the Protectors’!

Since becoming PCC, I have appointed a Mental Health Coordinator for Dorset Police to work on ways to reduce the impact on officers and look at alternative mechanisms to ensure that front line officers and staff are supported. I have also worked closely with the Force to develop a Wellbeing Strategy and improve the early diagnosis of PTSD through a peer support system for those who have been exposed to psychological trauma and I am pleased that we now more have more support systems in place that ever before.

But there is still more to do and that is why I have given £250,000 to the new Chief Constable to bring together best practice and activity that is already underway from across both forces; and to deliver a clear, consistent strategy and action plan in order to find the gaps in service and provide effective solutions.

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