In 2018, an internal review was completed of Humberside Police’s Health and Wellbeing provision, which identified a number of challenges and thus kickstarted their improvements in this particular area. As a result, the University of Hull’s expertise in this field was sought in order to clarify these issues and to help identify appropriate interventions and solutions.
The aim of this work was to provide Humberside Police with timely information about the experiences and perspectives of staff in relation to the organisation’s existing health and wellbeing provisions.
The specific challenge this project addresses is obtaining a better understanding of the gaps and obstacles regarding workforce wellbeing.
Our Centre for Human Factors (CFH) team undertook interviews and focus groups with staff across the force. During these sessions, it was reported that staff and senior leaders felt more information and support was needed to facilitate the identification of day-to-day stressors and preventative strategies, and that it was not always clear to the workforce what is available to support wellbeing and how to access those services.
The findings and recommendations from the research have since been used to inform the design of health and wellbeing practices and to ensure the force has in place the kinds of resources, training, and support that staff and managers need to aid them in the future.
In partnership with Humberside Police, psychologists at the Centre for Human Factors produced a comprehensive report based on an initial needs assessment carried out, consisting of rigorous qualitative analysis which encapsulated the key challenges and evidence by collaborating with the workforce first-hand.
The CFH team set out to really dig down into the detail of every area and understand difficulties and flaws in the way operations were currently functioning in relation to wellbeing.
The work aimed to achieve this through mapping what was already available and gathering data from across the workforce about how the existing provisions were ‘landing’ with staff and officers.
Over a four-month period, data collection consisted of a force wellbeing literature review, six focus groups with staff, police constables, sergeants and inspectors, and six interviews with chief inspectors and superintendents. A thorough approach to qualitative data analysis was undertaken by a team of four psychologists, and findings and recommendations were then taken to a consulting team including organisational, health, occupational and clinical psychologists from the University of Hull for final refinement. In doing so, the project delivered a sound grasp of organisational challenges, and the force has used the findings to design and deliver highly effective programmes of change.
The research highlighted the core themes linked to the causal factors of occupational stress in policing and provided an insight into the lived experience of Humberside Police officers and staff. The outputs from this report have been used to inform and shape the force’s priorities for the coming year.
“The insights generated have helped raise the profile of the need to improve our approach to wellbeing with senior leaders, and also supports the business case for further investment in this area. Any organisation who is serious about investing in a way that genuinely addresses the health and wellbeing of their staff needs to understand where their gaps are – not just where they think they are – and this project helped us to do that. Additionally, the team were able to provide the academic rigour that sits behind the analysis of the extensive data obtained from the focus groups which gave the findings significant weight. Overall, it was a really positive experience, working with an entirely professional and very organised team. Could not have asked for anymore. Highly recommend. ”