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Media

The National Training Awards Press Office will send out press releases following the announcement of the regional finalists, regional ceremonies and the Gala.

The Press Office will also be happy to provide comments from spokespeople at The National Training Awards and Government for you to include in your own releases.

And don't forget to include any press releases on your website, intranet and in your company newsletter to ensure your exciting news reaches all your stakeholders.

 

Stress Training Reduces Absenteeism for Met Police

The Metropolitan Police Service has drastically reduced stress-related absences, particularly amongst firearms officers, through the successful use of stress awareness training DVDs between 2005 and 2010.

The service employs around 55,000 police officers and staff and is responsible for the provision of police services to the people of London. In 2003, stress-related illness was the single biggest cause of sickness absence in the Met, responsible for an average of two lost days per officer per year. The total number of days lost due to illness was 10.3 days per officer each year.

The organisation's health professionals had the task of changing the force’s ‘macho’ culture, which stigmatised stress, into one where it was more acceptable for officers to talk about and deal with the pressures they faced in their jobs.

They developed a strategy designed to help officers and managers to build their resilience to stress and create a healthier work/life balance. This strategy included the production of three stress-awareness training DVD programs that used real-life scenarios of life and work stress to deliver their message. Production costs for each program were about £50,000 each.

The first, Triggers, was designed specifically for firearms officers and de-stigmatises stress. It has been delivered to all 5000 firearms officers, and training is ongoing for all new recruits. This was an important group to target because it directly confronts the fact that suicide is the commonest cause of non-accidental death in young men: the same group that the Met equips with loaded firearms.

The second training initiative, The Camel's Back, equips managers with the practical skills and the emotional intelligence they need to prevent, recognise and deal with stress in themselves and their staff. The ‘Managers Toolkit’ was delivered over a one-year period to all of the Met's 10,000 existing managers, and is now applied to all newly-appointed managers.

Shrinking Clouds is the third training DVD, providing practical tips, tools and techniques for dealing both proactively and reactively with the stresses of life and work. It was launched in late 2008 and about 9000 officers and staff have received it to date.

The Met's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eileen Cahill Canning, says, "The main challenges from staff were scepticism and cynicism. The primary obstacle posed by management was a resistance to accept that investment in workplace stress awareness training represented value for money."

However, these barriers were overcome by designing training programs that resonated with the culture of the police service, and delivered a message that was relevant to the work that officers do.

Management's objections were also overcome by the figures which showed sickness rates falling, and employee satisfaction rising. Evaluation in 2010 showed that absence due to anxiety, stress and depression dropped by 34% between 2006 and 2009 among firearms officers: Triggers had been pivotal in inducing a cultural shift towards addressing stress.

Evaluation of the Managers Toolkit in 2010 indicated that 88% of managers had changed their management style towards a more collaborative type of leadership, and their staff felt they could relate better with their manager.

Dr. Cahill Canning says, "The efficacy of these stress reduction measures is reflected in the reduction in sickness absence from 10.3 days per officer per year in 2003 to 6.8 days but also in a reduction of stress-related absenteeism of 14.3% and a year-on-year reduction of 18% achieving cost savings of over £1.3 million."

She adds that 40 other private and public sector organizations have adopted the DVD training programs, allowing the Met to recoup around £45,000 of its production costs.

ENDS

Entry name: The Metropolitan Police Service
Location: 2nd Floor East, Empress State Building, Lillie Road, London, SW61TR
Entry no: 100602
Region: LON
For further information contact:
Tom York – Senior PR Executive 020 7429 2828 or tom.york@ukskills.org.uk
Antonia Lee – Marketing Manager 020 7429 2825 or antonia.lee@ukskills.org.uk

 

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