Bishop Auckland MP, Dehenna Davison has recently put on record her commitment to support the mental health of retired police officers, after a meeting with the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO).
Davison, who is a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, met with NARPO to find out more about their work and was interested to learn about what support is available to officers after they leave the force.
In April 2019, the Government announced £7.5m to fund the development of a National Police Wellbeing Service and have recently been progressing a Police Covenant which looks to recognise the service and sacrifice of those who work in policing and to deliver the practical support they need. The intended key areas of focus will be physical protection, health and wellbeing and support for families.
During their meeting, NARPO explained to Ms Davison that they have been actively campaigning for the Police Covenant to be extended to retired police officers, in the same way that the Armed Forces Covenant covers veterans. They also shared results of a survey of NARPO members, conducted by De Montfort University in 2018, which found some concerning results, including that half of retired police officers feel that their careers had affected their mental health.
After the meeting the local MP tabled a question to the Home Office to ask what steps the Government is taking to support the mental health and wellbeing of retired police officers.
Speaking on the issue, Dehenna Davison MP 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.”
Following their meeting 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.
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.”