The UK Headquarters of this charity is in Woking. On 27th September, the High Sheriff, his wife and his Police Cadet were welcomed to their offices by Angela Hollinshead Head of Finance and Resources, Gill Scott-Moore the CEO, and the Philanthropy Manager Jim Fyfe.
The Charity has its origins in the General Strike of 1926 when The Times started a campaign for donations that would assist injured police officers, which became the National Police Fund. The murder of three officers, by Harry Roberts, in 1966 led to the setting up of The Police Dependants’ Trust. The two charities merged in 2018 and they became Police Care UK in 2019.
There are 25 members of staff and 60 volunteers at Police Care UK and they deal with matters from England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland. They make sure both serving and former colleagues who suffer harm, and their families, have someone to turn to when things get tough. They do this by providing practical, emotional and financial support for those who suffer physical and psychological harm because of their policing role. They are independent of the Police and government, receiving no funds from either, and they provide a confidential service, relying on donations and fundraising. Their annual expenditure exceeds £2.5m.
Police Care UK have a confidential careline for counselling or psychotherapy, where clinically appropriate. They can help fund house adaptations and the purchase of mobility equipment, educational bursaries for children and other support through individual assessment in their Grants Panel. Practical advice is available and Clive, who served in the Police for 22 years, explained how he works to help those who make contact with the team. Clive and his colleagues deal with 150-200 cases per month. He spends many hours on the phone to those who call, and speaks to people from all across the country. Two therapists are available to give advice and to make decisions in the more difficult cases.
A video was shown of the family of an officer who is tragically unable to live without 24-hour care. His mother and sister explained the help they receive from the Charity. Another officer spoke about the assistance he was given in recovering from PTSD, often a result of dealing with incidents in the course of their duties. Police may suffer PTSD, or anxiety and depression, but can be advised how best to access the help they may need.
On average, 8 police officers are killed each year and many more suffer serious injuries in the line of duty. The number of people helped by this charity is growing considerably. 1400 families have been helped in the last year and 5,300 counselling services have been provided. 15% of officers retire on the grounds of ill health, 600 pa on average. 20% suffer PTSD and 98% will have suffered an injury in the course of their career.
The Charity is proactive and provides training to forces on the prevention of harm. An example of this is their TIPT training, which stands for Trauma Impact Prevention Techniques. Surrey Police have officers who have undergone such training. Dr Jess Miller is the Director of Research and Maria O’Brien the Head of Operations. There seem to be more and more challenges for the Police in our society. It has always been a demanding career and it can bring serious physical and mental difficulties for those who dedicate their lives to protecting the public and upholding law and order. This charity is vital to the support of those who make the Police Service their working life, and their families, when problems occur. May more and more citizens come to learn about the help that is needed and so give donations to this fine charity.