UNISON members in the police and justice services work with the public in the best and worst of situations, the union’s service group conference heard today, as it called for employers to support staff wellbeing and mental health.
Pressure on police staff is increasing, Lisa Hardy from the Leicestershire police branch told delegates.
Call management staff can be dealing with a report of a child missing from home one minute and a murder the next, conference noted.
Similarly, police community support officers might deal with abused children or adults, or the aftermath of a murder or suicide during a day’s work.
All of this – and much more – can lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health issues for police staff members.
Yet as Dave Bryant of West Mercia police explained, for many police and justice organisations, mental health is seen as a staff capability issue, rather than one of people in crisis.
Conference called on the union to gather information on mental health related sickness and employers’ policies to support police staff members and develop advice and guidance for branches.