Nov 18, 2023 | UK News

Police Care UK launched the world’s first ever Police Traumatic Events Checklist  after close work with the Police Federation of England and Wales and the University of Cambridge, following its campaign to have the PTEC system initiated to record trauma incidents in a bid to help police capture and measure the cause of stress and ill-mental health and to put mitigations in place before the impact becomes too significant.


Trauma exposure is recognised as posing a significant threat to wellbeing as its impact can be dramatic and long-lasting on police officers and police staff, leaving many with some form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This can go on to affect an individual’s ability to carry out their job effectively and can have a significant impact on their personal lives too.


Despite this, there has previously never been a formal method of recording exposure to trauma, its frequency, or its severity, which gives headlines about looking after police officer’s welfare and calls to ‘protect the protectors’ a somewhat hollow ring.


PTEC is a voluntary means of recording trauma exposure and data, providing the ability to document what an individual is exposed to as part of their day job, and record their resilience and any change over time. This can support career development, decisions on promotion, on the job training, attitudes towards general wellbeing and counselling, and can provide an early warning on wider stress levels.


The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has worked closely with Dr Jess Miller, Police Care UK Director of Research, and the University of Cambridge, to code the worst reported incidents at work by over 1,500 officers and staff members. This work was crucial to the development of a comprehensive checklist to describe and record experiences of everyday trauma.


Using police-specific items that describe incidents and jobs known to be traumatic in the main (child fatalities for example), along with situational components which may compound trauma (being first on scene is one example), the checklist can be used by any individuals in any role, who want to self-check their exposure.


As part of the research an anonymous online trauma survey was conducted and over 18,000 staff and officers responded, over 7,000 in detail, revealing the serious and wide-ranging concerns that the subject carries.


Leading several trials across different forces and ensuring responsible peer review in 2021, Police Care UK made PTEC freely available to all forces across the UK in September 2023. PTEC can be used by officers, supervisors, team leaders, occupational health practitioners, wellbeing leads, TRiM practitioners, federation or staff association representatives, counsellors and therapists.

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