Stressed police taught deep breathing in ’emotional survival’ training



One force has already made the five hour course compulsory for its front line police officers, control room staff and dog handlers.
The session was developed by Delphine Davies, a police welfare officer, to help officers cope with feelings of “isolation and loneliness”.

But some officers were said to have “burst out laughing” when asked to attend the training.
Hertfordshire Police revealed yesterday it had sent more than 1,000 of its 3,900 officers and staff on the training after a survey found many of them were becoming “cynical and negative”.
It is not known how much the force has spent on the sessions, which encourage officers to take part in deep-breathing exercises during their breaks.
They are also told to de-stress by closing their eyes and using “guided imagery” such as visualising a walk along a beach or a trek through a forest.
Other relaxation tips include sleeping properly, taking up a hobby and “socialising with people outside policing circles”.
Miss Davies told Police Review magazine that dealing with murders and rapes every day can lead officers to experience “feelings of loneliness”.
She said: “I was seeing a lot of officers in welfare who were basically very cynical – they were negative towards the organisation, were having problems with their relationships, with their children, family, friends, were feeling isolated, burned out and stressed. ‘But after the training a lot more officers have made huge changes in their lives.”
One, who did not want to be named, said that although the course was a “bit weird”, it was useful.
“When we were told that we had to go on this course a lot of us just burst out laughing,” he said.
“Being told to breathe deeply and visualise relaxing scenes is all very well, but when you’re out on patrol you can’t very well just take ten minutes to sit down and meditate.
“But it was more about focusing on any problems we might have and how we deal with the effects of day-to-day policing and how it affects our lives. A lot of us found a few good things to take away from it.”
Hertfordshire Deputy Chief Constable Simon Parr said other forces had contacted him for information on the emotional survival training.
Vojislav Mihailovic, of Hertfordshire Police Federation, said: “Anything that can help with officers’ welfare is a good thing.”
Cambridgeshire Police introduced “contemplation rooms” in stations last year to allow officers to “pray and have a quiet moment”.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Ammara said,

    well erm they didnt really need to be put on course to tell em to deep breath?


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