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Study on wellbeing of officers during the pandemic receives funding

A research project at the University of Huddersfield on policing amidst a global pandemic has been awarded funding from the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS).

The University’s Director of the Applied Criminology and Policing Centre, Professor Jason Roach, is to lead a team of researchers that will work with the NPWS, also known as the College of Policing's Oscar Kilo, exploring to what extent the health and wellbeing of the nation’s officers have been affected. 

Professor Roach recognised how research into the wellbeing of NHS staff working during the pandemic was well documented, but the same couldn’t be said for the nation’s police officers and their psychological, emotional and physical ‘wellbeing’. 

A team of academics create a survey that will include general questions such as how the officers felt doing their job during the various phases of the COVID-19 Lockdown. 

Professor Roach said: “For example, during the initial phases when no-one could be outside, the rules of social distancing where clear and easier for police to enforce, ‘Stay at home, Save Lives. Protect the NHS’, compared to when the relaxing of the rules happened. We’ll be asking how they dealt with enforcement in the potential vagueness of it all."

The survey will be disseminated by the NPWS to potentially thousands of police staff across England and Wales.

The project’s second phase will entail conducting interviews with police staff.

As well as identifying negative effects impacting on wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic, the research team will also be searching for more positive factors, such as which coping strategies they used, was it exercise and talking with colleagues, or if there was any specific support provided by their forces.

“The police force as a whole has come on leaps and bounds over the last five years when dealing with staff mental health and wellbeing issues,” said Professor Roach. “However, some forces are further down ‘the wellbeing road’ than others, so we are likely to get different responses from staff from different forces and working in different roles.”

The findings are to be published in an academic paper and presented to the College of Policing to inform the maintaining of police wellbeing in the case of any further COVID or future pandemics.

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