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Conservative MP pushing for more support for retired officers

Conservative MP Dehenna Davison has asked the Home Office what steps they?re taking to support the mental health and wellbeing of retired officers after meeting with the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO).
Published - 02/07/2020 By - Chloe Livadeas

Ms Davison is the MP for Bishop Auckland and a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee. She says she is committed to support the mental health of retired officers and met with NARPO to hear about their work and what support is currently available.

She raised how retired officers often need to rely on charities for help with mental health, and called for the Police Covenant to be progressed as soon as possible which retired officers could be a part of. 

During their meeting with Ms Davison, NARPO shared results of a survey of its members, conducted by De Montfort University in 2018, which indicated half of retired officers feel that their careers had affected their mental health. It was conveyed to Ms Davison that they have been actively campaigning for the Police Covenant to be extended to retired officers – something the government has said it is looking at – the same way the Armed Forces Covenant covers veterans.

The Police Federation asked for officer mental health and wellbeing to be central to the covenant in their submission to the government consultation. 

Ms Davison said: “Our police officers dedicate their lives to protecting us and the challenges of their work will often stay with them long after they retire. I believe it is vital we do all we can in return to protect them with support for their mental health. I welcome the Government’s commitment of £7.5 million and would now ask that they consider extending this funding to retired police officers, who often have to rely on charities for mental health and wellbeing support.

"The Government is leading the way in this area already and it’s important we progress the Police Covenant as soon as possible. I look forward to seeing what support is made available through this.”

Steve Edwards, CEO, NARPO said: “We’re incredibly grateful for the support of MPs such as Ms Davison for this important cause.

“Mental health and wellbeing support has improved drastically in recent years for police officers. This is an important and welcome move but as soon as a police officer retires, this support stops. For many retired police officers, it is only after they retire that issues around mental health and wellbeing emerge."

He added: “We look forward to more information on the Police Covenant and welcome the news that mental health and wellbeing support specifically for retired officers will be considered.”

Ms Davison is one of the intake from 2019 December general election. She is 26-years-old.

Ms Davison’s questions were answered by Policing Minsiter Kit Malthouse, who wrote: “We have invested in programmes which offer help directly to police officers and staff. This includes £7.5 million to fund the development of the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS), which was launched in April 2019.”

“However, we want to go further, and have therefore accelerated work to introduce a Police Covenant, recognising the service and sacrifice of those who work, or have worked, in policing and to deliver the practical support they need. The key areas of focus will be physical protection, health and wellbeing and support for families.”

He added that the covenant will be put into law as part of the Police Protection and Powers Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech. “We aim to introduce the Bill later this session,” he said.

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