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Police raise awareness of personal wellbeing with 24-hour #Treatsforbeats event

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Money also raised for Care of Police (COPs) charity

Devon & Cornwall Police Peer Support Network will deliver goodies such as fruit, cereal bars, water and sweets to 33 police stations across the region to encourage frontline colleagues to take meal breaks and look after their wellbeing.

The 24-hour challenge on Monday 11th September will also raise funds for the Care of Police Survivors (COPs) charity.  The charity is dedicated to helping the families of police officers who have lost their lives whilst on duty, by providing both practical and emotional support. 

It is hoped that the challenge will raise at least £1000 for the charity and donations have been coming in already.

The Devon & Cornwall Police Peer Support Network is one of the first of its kind in the UK.  Peer Supporters are trained by the Institute of Mental Health to support their colleagues by offering help, based on shared understanding, respect and mutual empowerment between people in similar situations.

Officers and staff are encouraged to look after their wellbeing by seeking out a peer supporter in Force who has had the same or similar experiences as them, to talk about any issues they might be struggling with – be it police work related or a personal matter.

Deputy Chief Constable, Paul Netherton, said: ‘Every day ordinary people carry out extraordinary work for Devon & Cornwall Police, but this work can have an impact on them. Wellbeing is a Force priority and we’re very proud to be one of the first in the country to have trained peer supporters as part of our wellbeing initiative. 

‘People working shifts can find themselves too busy to take a meal break, or out of sync with regular mealtimes, so we hope the #Treatsforbeats initiative will encourage them to take breaks where possible and to be mindful of their wellbeing, whatever the pressures of the job. I am delighted that the campaign will be raising awareness of the peer support network and personal wellbeing, but also that the COPs charity will benefit from the event.’

Chief Medical Officer and Strategic Alliance Wellness Lead, Professor John Harrison, added ‘At a time when the Force is facing considerable challenges and the impact on police officers and staff is unrelenting, I am pleased to give my wholehearted support to this initiative.  Our commitment to serving our local communities can only be realised if we take time to care for ourselves.  This should be implicit in the professionalism that drives us.  This initiative is a tangible example of Health and Wellbeing at work.’

Contact Centre staff member, Lisa Burnett, and creator of the initiative said, ‘As a contact centre worker I regularly hear from officers coming off night shift and it was clear to me that they weren’t looking after themselves as well as they might.  As a trained peer supporter I thought I could help educate officers about taking meal breaks and generally looking after their health by delivering snacks to their police stations, have a chat and raising awareness about the importance of looking after their personal wellbeing and the resources available to help them do this.  I’ve been amazed at the response and how well the event has taken off.’

The initiative is being funded by the Police Federation and staff support groups.

Other UK police forces and support agencies have expressed an interest in the Devon & Cornwall Police Peer Support Network for use in their own areas and will be watching the initiative with interest, as well as supporting the campaign.

A Justgiving.com support page has been created to collect donations.  Visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/treatsforbeats

 


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