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Officers' psychological welfare must be looked after, says Met Commissioner

Boss of largest police force says personnel have dealt with 'utterly horrific things' recently
Published - 03/08/2017 By - Press Association

The psychological welfare of police officers has never been more important with many experiencing some "horrendous situations" in recent months, Britain's most senior officer has said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said her officers have dealt with a "series of utterly horrific things", with some attending both the deadly Westminster and London Bridge terror attacks as well as the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Speaking on BBC Radio London, she said: "I've spoken to hundreds of officers who have been through some terrible things.

"They have all been, I hope, very well supported to date. And there are a whole variety of things that are open to support them.

"I do not underestimate that this has been a series of utterly horrific things and indeed, as with the other two services, we have had some people who have deployed to all of those incidents, and have acted incredibly courageously and been in horrendous situations.

"So we need to look after them now, we need to look after them in the medium term, we need to look after them in the long term. And I'm hoping that all of them come through as well as they possibly can, but it is not something to take lightly, and I absolutely don't."

Comm Dick was also asked about the response to the Grenfell Tower blaze, amid claims that some residents do not have confidence in the police inquiry.

"I would say I have a fantastic bunch of very professional people who are utterly dedicated to doing the very best investigation that they can," she said.

"They have a very high level of skill - as good as anybody else in the world - and they are being extremely thorough, they are being extremely respectful, they are keeping in touch as best as they possibly can with the people most affected."

"They cannot give all the answers they would want to give as quickly as we would all want them to be given, but they will do a thorough job."

Referring to the disaster, which is thought to have left at least 80 people dead, Comm Dick added: "None of us can put ourselves in the shoes of those people, none of us can understand how utter traumatic and horrible it must be."

Last month it emerged that around 30 police officers and firefighters have been in contact with a charity for support with post-traumatic stress.

The figures from PTSD999 came amid warnings from the charity and staff on the frontline about poor treatment of the condition and other mental health issues in the emergency services.

The Met has rolled out the trauma risk management (TriM) programme, a specialist programme to treat and prevent PTSD which has been used in the military.

But one officer said TriM was rushed in and was being delivered by "current policeofficers who have done a one-day training course".

Another Met source said it may work in the military but was "pointless" in the police.

Earlier this year Police Oracle launched our BluePrint campaign. It calls on the government to meet its obligation of protecting officers both in the job and when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma.

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