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Trauma Resilience in UK Policing


The UK's first force-wide policing survey to assess trauma management and working conditions has been completed with the Police Dependants' Trust and the University of Cambridge. The questions invited an honest look at how trauma exposure is managed and how working conditions shape the policing experience in the current climate. The survey addressed key issues emerging from recent research (including the 2016 Injury on Duty Report by the PDT) and looks to provide more clarity on what support is needed, possible and helpful for operational officers and staff. Analysis will also look at prevalence rates of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for the first known time in a policing population.



Who was it for? Current, serving police officers or police staff

Was it anonymous? Yes. Nobody can be linked to their answers. 


What questions did it ask?

The survey asked respondents to be honest about their working experiences in policing but did not oblige them to provide any information they didn't feel comfortable providing. There were free text boxes for those who wished to add more and many respondents used them. Contact details for support were provided with the survey should it have raised any issues for which respondents would have liked to seek any advice or guidance.  

Are respondents' data protected?

Yes. The survey adheres fully to new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 2018. A full declaration of this was provided in the opening to the survey and the principles of data protection are upheld throughout the analysis and reporting stages in 2019.

Who ran the survey?

The University of Cambridge Department of Sociology (lead by Dr Brendan Burchell) conducted the survey, sponsored by the Police Dependants' Trust who are independent. The wider project has a steering group with representation from the Police Federation of England & Wales, the College of Policing, Oscar Kilo, force Chief Medical Officers and expertise on trauma from University College London (Professor Chris Brewin). If you would like to know more about the team, click here.

How is this different from the recent PFEW survey?

The survey builds on the PFEW's Demand, Capacity and Welfare survey and is open to all police (at all levels) and police staff. It takes a closer look at how individuals and forces manage everyday job-to-job trauma and enables us to compare how policing is experienced in the UK, compared to other kinds of work and to other countries. It also included a screen for Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to look at prevalence for the first time. 

What will be done with the results?

The results will be analysed in 2019 to give forces and the UK police as a whole a picture of how policing in the UK compares to other jobs and other countries. Specific reports will be produced on key issues about trauma management and working conditions and these will be published online, in newsletters, policing journals and academic journals. Forces can also request their own report if their forces reached more than 300 respondents. Results will also be made public through a variety of channels including social media. 






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