Roads Police: Welfare and wellbeing facts

• In PFEW’s 2018 Demand Capacity and Welfare Surrey, 23 per cent of respondents working in a Roads Policing role reported one or more injuries requiring medical attention due to work- related accidents over the previous year.

• 75 per cent of officers in a Roads Policing role said that, in the line of duty, they had witnessed a violent or unnatural death, including accident, suicide or homicide.

Trauma support needed for roads policing officers

Police forces must recognise that roads policing ofcers can be left traumatised by exposure to the incidents they deal with and provide more support. That is the view of National Board Member

and Roads Policing Lead Gemma Fox, who believes PFEW’s roads awareness campaign during November provides the ideal opportunity to highlight the work of roads policing and family liaison ofcers. Research has shown emergency services

workers are twice as likely than the public to identify problems at work as the main cause of mental health problems, but they are also significantly less likely to seek help. Gemma explained: “They deal with so

much unnatural death and we need to recognise the trauma that can come from this. We want to ensure they have the right welfare provisions in place, as well as peer-to-peer support. This allows colleagues to help each other, recognise when something is difcult and, rather than let a situation build up, create an environment where it’s OK for someone to say they are finding things tough.

“We will also be promoting good practice

across the country and showcasing the diferent methods of support roads ofcers and family liaison ofcers can access.” Andy Smith is the Collision Investigation

Lead for Northumbria Police Federation. He has been in roads policing for 21 years and a collisions investigator for the last nine. He said: “There have been occasions

where it’s afected me to some degree for various reasons. However, when that was the case, I asked for help and I was given counselling that was very helpful and very beneficial.It allowed me to be a better investigator, to cope with trauma and investigating road trafc collisions. “If something has upset you, it’s good you can

talk to your colleagues about that. Quite often they might be feeling the same or have similar feelings from a previous incident. Like many aspects of policing, roads policing can be tough at times. We all know that; we accept that, and we apply to enter these roles. “The kind of thing you’re dealing with quite

Gemma Fox

regularly is something which a lot of people probably never see in their lifetime because of the stress, the trauma, and quite often the deaths. That has a knock-on efect. Not only does it afect yourself, quite often it can extend to your home life, your personal life and your family because you don’t always switch of when you go home.” PFEW’s Hear ‘Man Up’,

Andy Smith

Think ‘Man Down’ campaign encourages ofcers to take mental 12 | POLICE | NOVEMBER 2020

• 49 per cent said that, in the line of duty, they had been involved in a serious road traffic accident.

• In 2016, 69 per cent of officers that identified as having a Roads Policing role also reported being often or always single crewed; and in 2018, this proportion grew to 75 per cent.

Research and Policy Division, PFEW

What they say

• “I’ve been on traffic for the last 22 years. I’ve seen hundreds of people killed or maimed in car crashes.” Constable, 28 years’ service

• “I attended three fatal road traffic collisions within a two- week period, two of which involved young children.” Constable, 12 years’ service

• “I have been a witness to numerous collisions that have ended with the people within the vehicle being burnt.” Constable, 14 years’ service

wellbeing as seriously as they take physical safety. The campaign has also highlighted the issue of whether ofcers are too dismissive of colleagues who may be showing signs of mental health issues.

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