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Trauma Resilience in UK Policing


We were really pleased to contribute to the Baroness Casey Review of the Met with a view to understanding how trauma exposure and resilience interacts with culture, standards and behaviour. 

Here is an extract from the full report 21 March 2023:

"During the Review we spoke to Dr Jessica Miller, Director of Research at Police Care UK, and Research Associate and Principal Investigator at the University of Cambridge’s Trauma Resilience in UK Policing project. Her research has found that in a national context, over 90% of police officers report being exposed to traumatic events, defined as ‘an extremely threatening or horrific event or series of events’. Another piece of research asked more than fifteen hundred officers to identify and briefly describe the experiences that most trouble them.66 Researchers then coded these experiences for frequency of mentions. The most frequently mentioned traumatic events were those involving children, road traffic accidents, murders, suicides and dead bodies. Dr Miller identified situational contexts that can exacerbate these incidents:

  • Gruesome experiences, such as disrupted bodies, gory injuries, or horror
  • Organisational pressure, including lacking resources or support
  • Cumulative exposure to trauma
  • Personal resonance, such as when a victim is known, or resembles someone known
  • Being first on the scene.

Dr Miller told us that: “The reality of policing means that most of the time, police officers are in threat perception and threat management mode.”

Threat perception or threat management mode means that officers are less able to think in other modes. Dr Miller provides training to help officers switch between the part of the brain that manages threats and the part that deals with creativity, empathy and compassion. In practical terms, this means helping officers to move from job to job on duty and seeing each incident with a clear mindset.

Latest news

Author's story

26 January 2024

The Marshwood Vale magazine of the South West features a front cover piece on Dr Jess Miller and how she found herself working in trauma resilience. To read a bit more about how the personal meets the professional, honouring the trusted adage "Re-search is Me-search", click here.

BLOG: The Policing Mind one year on

22 June 2023

Here Dr Jess talks about how her first book The Policing Mind: Trauma Resilience for a New Era has had impact since 2022: Transforming Society ~ Getting inside the policing mind In doing so, the book as been passed to the Home Secretary in the hope of further change to our police service being more trauma informed and open...

The Lancet featuring our trauma resilience project and trauma impact prevention techniques (TIPT)

23 March 2023

We are absolutely delighted to share that our project has featured in an essay by Jules Morgan in The Lancet Psychiatry on 21st March. Here is an extract : "People are only just starting to talk about complex PTSD, but we need to act now, says Jessica Miller (University of Cambridge, UK, and Police Care UK), Principal...

More project talk...