Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner and chief constable have committed to enhancing mental health care for police officers in Cheshire Constabulary.
PCC David Keane and CC Darren Martland have agreed to provide early intervention support and increased mental health counselling for front line police officers as part of a new 12 month pilot programme.
The new programme will see Cheshire Constabulary provide a trained mental health counsellor who will be based at police headquarters in Winsford but will travel across the county offering specialist support to officers and staff in crisis, as well as mental health awareness sessions.
PCC David Keane said: “The pressures being placed on our police officers are increasing every day. From witnessing excessive trauma to working long hours on a regular basis, sometimes the demands of the job can be too much and it’s our job to ensure they have the right support in place.
“We have been working with organisations like MIND to provide mental health support and break down the stigma of mental illnesses for a number of years but this new programme will offer on-site specialist support for the first time, making a huge difference to the increasing number of officers experiencing mental health issues.”
The new service is part of a renewal of the constabulary’s existing occupational health care contract which was agreed by the PCC and chief constable at their joint management board meeting on Wednesday (18 September 2019).
They have also committed to providing a preventative health and wellbeing package for all Cheshire Constabulary staff and officers, including those in the Special Constabulary, which will see those in need being offered respite care away from the frontline at specialist treatment centres.
There will also be increased support for employees who are showing signs of dyslexia, with in-house screening and support provided for existing employees.
CC Darren Martland said: “Cheshire Constabulary is a compassionate organisation that puts the wellbeing of its officers and staff as one of its highest priorities. When staff feel supported in their workplace they are healthier, happier and have increased motivation.
“As policing becomes more complex, our officers are being put under increased pressure to continue to provide a top-class service which keeps our communities safe.
“Working with medical professionals to ensure our police officers and staff have the support they need is essential to ensuring the constabulary is fit for both the current and future demands.”