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Mental Health Awareness Training

Question

What training is given to Police Officers regarding mental health awareness?

What support is available to Officers and staff members regarding their own mental health?

Are there any statistics available on how many officers and staff have been sick with mental health / stress as the issue?

How many Police Officers / Staff does the force currently employ? and the stats for the last three years?

Rough estimate on relationship issues within the force?

Are there any psychological tests run on trainee officers to highlight any mental health issues they may have and do these tests ever prevent people from continuing training?

Are there regular metal health check ups, for example on firearms officers or anyone dealing with sexual offence cases?

Is there an appointed doctor or counsellor to help police with these issues?

Are police allowed to work while taking medication for metal health issues?

Do you have an statistics on police officer assaults in your force?

Clarification received

On the 3rd October you provided a revised request as follows:

1. What training is given to Police Officers regarding mental health awareness?

2. What support is available to Officers and staff members regarding their own mental health?

3. The statistics available on how many officers and staff have been sick with mental health as the issue? Including these codes 1101, 1102, 1103, 1106, 1107, 1108, 1109 For the last three financial years?

4. How many Police Officers / Staff does the force currently employ? and the stats for the last three financial years?

5. What psychological tests are run on trainee officers to highlight any mental health issues they may have and do these tests ever prevent people from continuing training?

6. Are there regular metal health check-ups, for example on firearms officers or anyone dealing with sexual offence cases? If Yes how often and what do these tests include?

7. Is there an appointed doctor or counsellor to help police with these issues?

8. Are police allowed to work while taking medication for mental health issues? What medication would prevent an officer/staff from working

9. The statistics on police officers assaulted in your force for the last three financial years

10. divorce rates within this specific force. 

Answer

1. All new recruits receive half day mental health awareness training from a subject matter expert, followed by half day training on mental health legislation, policy and procedure. They also receive half day on suicide intervention. In addition to this, officers may receive heightened training to support them in specialised roles (e.g. investigations, protect, hostage and crisis negotiation). From time to time refresher training is provided to officers, for example half day awareness training to all first responders.

2. In addition to the support from their line managers and colleagues, officers and staff have access to:

  • An occupational health unit staffed by a specialist occupational physician, 3 occupational health advisers and two psychotherapists
  • A mental health peer group support network
  • Mental health champions
  • An external Employee Assistance Programme which gives access to trained counsellors and psychotherapists.  This is initially by phone or on-line and then can be face to face or continue on-line or via an app that runs on android or iPhones.
  • a Trauma Risk Management programme
  • A welfare officer provided by the Defence Medical Welfare Service
  • Support and treatment available from the NHS via their GP and specialist mental health services.

3. Please find our response in the table below, this is the number of people who have been absent for the following sickness codes:

1101 - Alcohol/drug dependency

1102 - Anxiety/Nervousness                                  

1103 - Depression

1106 - Phobias

1107 - Shock

1108 – Stress

1109 - Bereavement

Year

Number of Absences

2014/15

402

2015/16

415

2016/17

402

4. Please find our response in the table below, this is the headcount of number of Police Officers and Staff and excludes those on a career break and all Southwest One staff.

Year

Headcount

2014/15

4980

2015/16

5030

2016/17

5027

5. We do not conduct ‘psychological tests’ for trainee officers. However, if any staff member becomes unwell or ill, we fully support them and encourage them to access support from their GP, other NHS providers and our occupational health service. All applicants undergo pre-employment health screening by questionnaire and face to face.  If any significant issues are highlighted they may see the Force Medical Adviser and/or information may be sought from the GP or from an assessment by an independent psychiatrist.  All this is prior to appointment.  Following the assessment the person may or may not be employed depending on the nature and severity of the illness.

6. Firearms officers undergo annual hearing tests and a medical every other year. A GP report is reviewed prior to appointment and every 5 years thereafter.  A risk assessed group of officers and staff, which includes those working in child safeguarding, domestic violence, internet pornography and collision investigation (amongst others), are seen by a psychotherapist at least annually and are able to arrange to see the psychotherapist at any time if they feel that they need to.  Others deemed at risk, but less so, such as those in victim and witness support, can be referred directly to the psychotherapists by their line manager.

7. See above.

8. No medication precludes working as a police officer as such.  Each case is assessed individually; however side effects or the original condition might render the officer unfit for duty either temporarily or permanently.

9. Please see our response in the table below:

 

Year

No. assaults

Officers

Specials

Staff

Total

2014/15

113

1

19

133

2015/16

163

4

10

177

2016/17

250

4

10

264

10.  This is not recorded.

FOI reference: 1194/17.

Date of request: 02.10.17.