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Police Covenant to include measures for those who leave policing

Three new priorities have been identified by Home Office officials working on the Covenant.

Those who leave policing are now set to be supported under the Police Covenant – as one of three new areas of work that have been agreed by the oversight board for 2023/24. 

A comprehensive transition package or ‘flight path’ will be established for forces to use with leavers - with consideration given to the Armed Forces' 'veterans gateway'.

Provision of practical training and advice as well as psychological and counselling services are being considered. It could include activities such as CV preparation, job interview training and IT training. NPWS has said these products will be ready for forces in September 2023.

The two other additions that have been made are; to scope the current support in place in relation to healthcare pathways for the workforce, and to consider wider issues around officer and staff safety at the roadside.

The Police Covenant Oversight Board [PCOB] has said the additional priorities were a reflection of the rapidly changing nature of police work.

The Covenant had initially focussed on 11 key priorities. 

The Covenant's 2023 annual report reads: “The Oversight Board will continue to review all priorities throughout the year to consider any further points to add, or the potential combining of priorities.”

Of the original eleven priorities, three have now been completed and signed off by the PCOB.

Issues raised in the Officer and Staff Safety Review have been met through the changes to legislation around assaults on emergency workers in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022. 

While Operation Hampshire ensures data collection on assaults forms part of recording practice. Phase One of the app is available in the Police Digital Service Directory – although a decision has not yet been made regarding how frequently a national data request will be issued to forces.

The third completed area of work is the inclusion of mental health training ‘Mental Health Awareness in the Police Service’ for new officers as part of the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF). This priority is set to remain actively monitored however.

The report reads: “This will help develop a ‘bottom-up’ improvement in the workforce response to colleagues’ trauma and will help reduce the stigma still too-often associated with mental health issues. This will sit alongside the development of a top- down approach to engender a broader wellbeing culture within policing.”

The nine remaining priorities include identifying and tackling organisational stressors (HMICFRS is due to review wellbeing and occupational health in their 2023 PEEL inspection programme) and assessing the needs of police families (research into the needs of family members has been commissioned by the College with formal reports due next Spring).

The College has also begun a recruitment process for a Chief Medical Officer for policing – an interim, Professor John Harrison, is currently in place. 

Meanwhile the Home Office and the College of Policing are working on implementing a communications plan to ensure those covered by the Covenant are aware of what it can offer them. 

"Through the leads for each priority, the Home Office, the police and our partner agencies, the Covenant has driven and will continue to drive work to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of the police workforce," the report adds. 

"Building on the successes of the past year, laid out in detail in this report, the Covenant will continue to increase the levels of support offered to the workforce as well as break new ground in providing support for those who have left policing and the families of officers and staff."

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