Hertfordshire Police supports week of action recognising frontline colleagues

The week of action will see forces across the country address important issues faced by response colleagues, such as fatigue and resilience

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 4:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 4:04 pm

Hertfordshire Police is supporting a national initiative to recognise response policing colleagues working on the frontline.

The week of action, led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Response Policing portfolio, launched yesterday (Mon, March 15) and will see forces across the country address important issues faced by response colleagues, such as fatigue and resilience.

The response policing function includes the following teams:

Special Constable Daniel Cook

> Intervention teams are dispatched to the most urgent calls from the public, for example where crime is in progress or someone may be in danger.

> Safer Neighbourhood Team officers work with their communities to solve longer term quality of life issues, such as anti-social behaviour.

> Operation Scorpion Teams relentlessly pursue criminals who commit acquisitive crime by focusing on intelligence-led proactive policing operations.

> Communications Operators work in the Force Communications Room, answering 999 and 101 calls from the public and dispatching response officers to live incidents.

They never know what situations they’ll be faced with when they come into work each day.

Often, they have to be prepared to deal with a wide range of incidents, including complex and sometimes confrontational situations.

No two days are the same, and this week will aim to raise awareness of this important area of policing.

The NPCC has worked with Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS), the College of Policing and the Police Federation, to deliver a range of wellbeing and resilience initiatives, co-ordinated specifically for response officers’ needs.

'A hugely challenging year'

In Hertfordshire, the force’s wellbeing team will be joined by senior police officers as they visit stations across the county in Oscar Kilo’s wellbeing van, where front line colleagues will have the opportunity to get advice and chat about a range of topics.

The van visits will be coupled with a wealth of resources from Oscar Kilo, including webinars around sleep, fatigue and resilience and self-care toolkits.

In addition, a number of engagement opportunities for front line officers will take place, including a #WECOPS response policing conversation with NPCC Wellbeing Lead CC Andy Rhodes and Response Policing Lead DCC Serena Kennedy.

Chief Inspector Frankie Westoby, Hertfordshire’s lead for Response Policing, said: “The past year has been hugely challenging for the police service, and Hertfordshire is no exception.

"When coronavirus hit and the country locked down, our frontline colleagues continued to respond to incidents and keep the public of Hertfordshire safe.

"It is only right that we ensure they feel supported, and that we publicly thank them for their unwavering dedication.

“It is important to recognise that this week of action is not a one-time initiative. The mental health of our officers and staff is hugely important and earlier this year, we appointed a new Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator for the force to help us deliver our internal wellbeing strategy.

"Response officers in particular work in hugely demanding roles and often deal with the most challenging and dangerous situations, so it is vital that we do all we can to support them.

“Throughout the week, we will be celebrating individual colleagues with case studies on our social media accounts, so keep an eye out for their personal policing stories.”

Special constables recognised

Special Constable Daniel Cook works on the frontline in the Welwyn Hatfield Intervention Team.

A Special Constable is a part-time, voluntary police officer with all the same powers as regular police officers.

Specials come from all walks of life and volunteer their spare time for a minimum of 16 hours a month. They are highly trained and play an essential role in preventing, reducing and tackling crime and keeping the communities of Hertfordshire safe.

Daniel, who works for an engineering company when he’s not volunteering with the Specials, said: “I wanted to join the police to give back to the community and most importantly, help others where possible.

"I also wanted to stand up for what was right and seek justice for those who deserve it. I think the best thing about being a Special is the excitement of what might be around the corner.

"It is a cliché, but two days really are never the same and you don’t really know what you are about to find when you arrive at an incident.

“Being in the police, you have the ability to make a positive impact on someone’s life when they need it most. That is an incredibly rewarding feeling.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Response Policing, Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “The aim of the week of action is for response officers to be heard and valued, to see their workplace successes celebrated, to know that their wellbeing is important and to understand how and where to seek support when it is needed.

“These officers routinely face and deal with some of the most challenging and difficult situations in society.

"They are frequently the first on the scene whenever an incident occurs, and they are often the first and only contact that many ever have with the police service.

"It is only right that they feel supported in the work they do.

“I encourage all senior leaders in policing to get involved with this initiative and to ensure that every opportunity is taken to recognise and celebrate the incredible work these officers do every day.”