As many of you that have followed this blog previously you will know I have commented on many aspects of traffic legislation and what it was like to be a traffic officer and all that it entailed including the role of a family liaison officer. Traffic legislation has probably more case law associated with it than any other area of legislation.
Barring a case I was involved in several years ago when the driver of a seaside tram was prosecuted for causing the death of a pedestrian under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and for the first time in the UK, I cant think of any other recent case law because pretty much every situation has been covered. That it how it became with my blog, there was nothing else new to cover and I had a lay off. I’m still on road policing but no longer part of a centralised unit. Still loving what I do and just as passionate about it.
But things have changed in the relatively small space of time since my last blog. Austerity and the resulting cuts to the police service of this country, a subject I’m not going to tackle, for that is a whole different topic in itself is causing a whole bundle of problems for forces up and down the country. Some are better equipped to deal with the fallout than others.
For sometime now it has become increasingly obvious to me that it is not the cuts to budgets and reduced resources that will affect the police’s ability to function. No, it is the ability of the individual police officer to carry on his or her role with the same dedication, passion and that continuing forward motion when free waters become treacle.
What I am talking about is the well being of every individual officer of this country.
Levels of sickness due to stress are increasing at an alarming rate and this should be a real wake up call for those that lead our service. I do of course refer to the senior police officers or as I prefer to think of them as guardians that shape policy and have a very real influence of how our day-to-day work experience influences our own outlook and wellbeing. I call them guardians for they bear a very great responsibility and since there tenure as Chief Constable is usually one of five years, their legacy will either help or hinder their future replacements. Yet at the coal face the humble foot soldier can expect to see out the next thirty to thirty five years of service and so it is important that officer welfare and well being is at the top of the agenda of every current and future Chief Constable.
For if it is not, like a house of cards I believe police forces will cease to provide the service they are expected to do with relatively very little warning! That is a scary thought to consider for us all.
I must add at this point that these are entirely my own views. I am not an expert nor do I have any formal training in these matters and indeed at times I may approach a subject from a position of ignorance. Everything I say is my own opinion based on my own life experiences and that of people I know. I also don’t pretend to get it right all the time and indeed suggest I may be completely wrong most of the time. That being said these are my own views and I would hope that after nearly twenty years as a cop and ten further years prior to that as a photographer who was luckily enough to travel to many parts of the world I may have picked up some things of relevance. Many of the topics that will be covered in the future I have experienced personally. I am not saying how I dealt with those experiences were right or wrong but I guess how I felt about them would be pretty much the same as everybody else. So I hope that gives all this some credibility.
The dictionary standard of well being is
Well being n. The state of feeling healthy and happy.
A laughably simple definition of what is an incredibly complex set of circumstances, emotions and personal outlooks. Over the coming weeks and months I hope to explore those facets of which there are many.
What we do
Where we live
Education and skills.
I hope you have the time to follow me in this exploration of well being. It wont be easy, it is a subject that has confounded people far better than me for centuries.
As I promised at the start of this blog, which I am so excited about, I said I would base my opinions as much as possible on my own life experiences. This I think sums up the subject as a whole.
My Mother around two years ago was admitted to hospital on several occasions to be treated for various conditions, which would ultimately take her from us. One particular experience for her and us was to be admitted to the local hospital. The medical staff treated the symptoms but failed to look after her well being. Bringing her meals during visiting times, which was a direct violation of protocol and so she failed to eat properly causing her to slowly get weaker. Cancelling tests, Doctors unavailable prolonging her stay, as without the tests they could not say what was medically wrong. It came to head when I confronted the head nurse and doctor on the ward. I told them that unless they started to look after my mother I would be taking her home. She was distressed, in tears and begged to come home. It seemed to do the trick and she was treated and discharged.
Several months later she was readmitted, this time with a different doctor in charge responsible for her immediate care. The doctor said it was not about treating the symptoms but treating the person as a whole. We breathed a sigh of relief. Finally we said, someone gets it!