Feeling Vulnerable

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2018 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
14 June 2018

Working conditions in the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) have brought their problems. Service users are quite often let in to the building without the ability to identify who they are, who they are with, or, to subject them to any level of scrutiny. Reception areas are quite often open with little waiting space, offering little if any protection for staff.

Service users are often seen in open booths where they are asked and expected to discuss extremely sensitive and personal information.

The people who use our offices are more likely to have substance misuse issues, problems with their mental health and can quite often present in distress or in an agitated state.

Instances of actual violence are not the norm, but, staff feeling vulnerable quite often is. Every day staff face the possibility of confrontation, having to ask difficult questions and quite often being unable to provide immediate assistance or intervention, with nowhere to go and no immediate protection should things go wrong.

Staff should feel safe in their workplace. We shouldn’t have to wait for things to go wrong before we look at what we should have done. Staff should know what to do, before it happens. Employers should have safe working practices and contingency plans in place.

Conference calls on the Service Group Executive to:

1)Work with the relevant bodies to seek to ensure that all the new employers have fully functioning H&S committees that work at all levels;

2)Work with all the relevant bodies to campaign for safe working environments and safe working practices in all offices;

3)Work with all the relevant bodies to seek to ensure that frontline staff have safe working practices and contingency plans specific to their environment should they be presented with threats or violence.