Life on the front line for South Yorkshire cops laid bare by Police Federation

Life on the front line for South Yorkshire police officers has been laid bare, with the exposure to trauma likened to the ‘drip, drip of Chinese water torture’.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 1:47 pm
The reality of life on the front line for police officers has been described by Steve Kent, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation

Speaking ahead of the Response Policing Wellbeing and Resilience Week, which runs from March 15-22, Steve Kent, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said the number of incidents response officers deal with can have a detrimental impact on their wellbeing.

He said: “I’m a response cop through and through. That’s my background before I was South Yorkshire Police Federation Chair.

“Being in the Federation has, I’m happy to accept, opened my eyes to the other things that other departments do and the perceptions I had as a response cop have been proven wrong in a lot of cases. Each job within the police has its own difficulties.

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“But I do think response are almost the forgotten majority in a way because they are going out from incident to incident. You’re going out to five or six incidents every day, on an average day, of which each one of those could be trauma, a serious accident, people being assaulted, a domestic, a mental health episode, going to arrest people…

“The drip, drip effect of that is almost like the difference between Chinese water torture and putting someone in Iraq. Over time it’s going to have the same effect.”

Steve said response officers are vital to the police service and it is important that those on the front line talk about their experiences and seek support if needed.

Federation reps will be holding briefings to inform people of the services available.

He added: “For me it’s like GPs in the medical service. It’s the absolute bedrock of policing responses.

“We, quite rightly, have focused stuff in the federation on our detective colleagues and our traffic colleagues for example. But we need to have this as well because they do often feel a bit left out of things. So it is just that little reminder.

“And at the Federation we will be going out to briefings and sitting with cops and introducing them to the services available.”