“Looking after your team, your officers should be every line manager’s number one priority.”

The service needs to do more to intervene when officers are struggling with mental ill health to prevent suicide, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

Zoë Wakefield, Federation Chair, has called on colleagues and line managers to look out for officers that may be struggling.

She said: “I think there’s a lot that can be done, especially around education. A lot of colleagues and line managers don’t pick up on the signs at the early stages. I’m supporting officers who’ve ended up having a breakdown and their line managers said, ‘I didn’t think you seemed quite right’. But the intervention isn’t there.

The intervention needs to be there at a very early stage, because it’s all well and good saying to people, ‘You need to ask for help’, but some people are in such a dark place that they don’t know how to. They need people around them that are picking up on signs that they’re not right, then they need to ask them if they’re okay – and then ask them again if they’re okay.”

Zoë was speaking after last month’s Federation conference revealed the shocking number of police officers that have taken their own lives in recent years. From 2001 to 2020, 344 officers killed themselves – more than one a month – the meeting heard.

Zoë also called on line manager to check in on officers that are off sick. She added: “It’s so important that supervisors don’t just ping them a text and say, ‘How are you doing?’ But that they actually go and visit them and check up on them and see how they really are, because otherwise people feel abandoned, forgotten and they feel like they’re not wanted, and that just adds to whatever trauma and else they’ve got going on. Looking after your team, your officers should be every line manager’s number one priority.”


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