As I write this I cannot help but reflect on the tragic loss from our police family of Sgt Matt Ratana at Croydon Police Station. It is a job like no other, that is why it is called “the job” and reminds us on these occasions that sometimes colleagues make the ultimate sacrifice. It effects everyone in the service, their families, colleagues and friends when the awful news comes of such a loss.

However sacrifice comes In many forms and it is often the quiet, cumulative suffering of colleagues doing the job that also has an effect on their physical, and mental health. The Police Federation’s new 2020 survey on officer fatigue showed that almost half of the 35,000 who responded were getting less than 6 hours sleep a night, and the 2019 Police Superintendents Association resilience survey highlighted that 63% of respondents had felt stress, anxiety and mental health difficulties in the last 12 months. The service response to these challenges has seen a sharp increase in focus on wellbeing and the health of everyone in the service through the national wellbeing service – Oscar Kilo.

An important part in how we feel about ourselves and function day to day is the level of physical activity we take part in to support our general health, whether it be simply a brisk walk with friends counting and competing on how many steps we can do in a day, to competing for the force at national and even international level! All of this is supported through Police Sport UK (PSUK), who through the police sports and social organisations encourage and support anyone in the policing family to take part in any form of sport.

TeamPolice is working closely with PSUK and sponsor partners who also want to support all colleagues in the service and be part of the conversation on how we can protect the protectors. Unfortunately due to COVID19 we cannot physically come together to discuss the issues at police sporting events as we have done in the past, but we can still join the conversation!

TeamPolice is excited to be holding a series of webinars over the next six months to debate and promote the importance of sport to our overall health. We aim to get the conversation going between Policing leaders and other organisations who consider sporting activity an essential element to wellbeing in the police. Sport and physical activity may not be the whole answer, but all the evidence shows that doing a bit more really does help.

Sign up now for our first webinar on 13 OCTOBER 2020 between 16.00 and 17.30 to discus ‘What are police services doing to promote sport, health and wellbeing as we look at recovering from the immediate Covid-19 crisis?’

You will hear the inspirational story about how a pioneering surf therapy to combat mental health issues has recently been launched by Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police. Surfwell uses surf therapy as a treatment method to combat PTSD, stress and mental health issues.  It’s the first programme of its kind in the world specifically tailored to the needs of the emergency services.

This will be followed by a panel discussion, led by senior police officers, with time for Q and A’s from the audience.

Come and join the conversation on the 13th October to find out what the police services are doing to promote sport, health and wellbeing!

BY GAVIN THOMAS

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After being diagnosed with PTSD in 2017 sport became a major part of my recovery and really helped me regain control of my life.

Linda Wall

Retired DCI Thames Valley Police