Recent findings by University of Bedfordshire academics shows police work presents risks to mental and physical health for officers and civilian staff.
The findings by Dr Andrew Clements, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Psychology, Dr Adrienne Sharples, Senior Lecturer in Adult Nursing, and Gail Kinman, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology, identifies police employees, that is officers and civilian staff, face wellbeing challenges.
For the report, titled ‘Identifying wellbeing challenges and solutions in the police service: A World Cafe approach’, the academics facilitated discussions amongst around 180 police officers and civilian staff to identify key wellbeing challenges and potential solutions.
It was found that there was a focus on organisational issues such as excessive workload, pressure to work from home and poor support for employee wellbeing. Management practices, slow occupational health processes and continuing mental health stigma were also identified by participants.
The research suggests an environment in which resources are insufficient to meet demands and the resulting pressures may contribute to management behaviours that can impair subordinate wellbeing.
Dr Andrew Clements said: “It is important to understand how to support the wellbeing of police officers and civilian staff, not only morally, but also because this has implications for the ability of the police service to perform its work.
“Our research showed that participants were concerned with problems such as excessive workload, management behaviours that added to pressure, barriers to accessing occupational health support, and mental health stigma.
“People may enter this work expecting challenges, but they likely expect support from their organisation. Unfortunately, our research suggests they do not always experience this.
“As well as considering how to match resources to demands, our findings suggest managers can play a crucial role in improving wellbeing in the service.”
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