Project Summary

The Challenge

In 2018, an internal review was completed of Humberside Police’s Health and Wellbeing provision, which identified a number of challenges and thus kickstarted their improvements in this particular area. As a result, the University of Hull’s expertise in this field was sought in order to clarify these issues and to help identify appropriate interventions and solutions.

The Approach

In partnership with Humberside Police, psychologists at the Centre for Human Factors produced a comprehensive report based on an initial needs assessment carried out, consisting of rigorous qualitative analysis which encapsulated the key challenges and evidence by collaborating with the workforce first-hand.

The Outcome

The research highlighted the core themes linked to the causal factors of occupational stress in policing and provided an insight into the lived experience of Humberside Police officers and staff. The outputs from this report have been used to inform and shape the force’s priorities for the coming year.

The insights generated have helped raise the profile of the need to improve our approach to wellbeing with senior leaders, and also supports the business case for further investment in this area. Any organisation who is serious about investing in a way that genuinely addresses the health and wellbeing of their staff needs to understand where the gaps are – not just where they think they are – and this project helped us to do that. Additionally, the team were able to provide the academic rigour that sits behind the analysis of the extensive data obtained from the focus groups which gave the findings significant weight. Overall, it was a really positive experience, working with an entirely professional and very organised team. Could not have asked for anymore. Highly recommend.

Clare Baggs, Head of HR, Humberside Police

The aim of this work was to provide Humberside Police with timely information about the experiences and perspectives of staff in relation to the organisation’s existing health and wellbeing provisions.

The specific challenge this project addresses is obtaining a better understanding of the gaps and obstacles regarding workforce wellbeing.

Our team undertook interviews and focus groups with staff across the force. During these sessions, it was reported that staff and senior leaders felt more information and support was needed to facilitate the identification of day-to-day stressors and preventative strategies, and that it was not always clear to the workforce what is available to support wellbeing and how to access those services.

The findings and recommendations from the research have since been used to inform the design of health and wellbeing practices and to ensure the force has in place the kinds of resources, training, and support that staff and managers need to aid them in the future.’

The Centre for Human Factors team set out to really dig down into the detail of every area and understand difficulties and flaws in the way operations were currently functioning in relation to wellbeing.

The work aimed to achieve this through mapping what was already available and gathering data from across the workforce about how the existing provisions were ‘landing’ with staff and officers.

Over a four-month period, data collection consisted of a force wellbeing literature review, six focus groups with staff, police constables, sergeants and inspectors, and six interviews with chief inspectors and superintendents. A thorough approach to qualitative data analysis was undertaken by a team of four psychologists, and findings and recommendations were then taken to a consulting team including organisational, health, occupational and clinical psychologists from the University of Hull (UoH) for final refinement. In doing so, the project delivered a sound grasp of organisational challenges, and the force has used the findings to design and deliver highly effective programmes of change.

Representatives of Humberside Police said that the work had:

  • Provided findings and recommendations to help develop their Health and Wellbeing Functional Plan for the coming 12 months;
  • Brought to life the challenges in relation to the health and wellbeing of the staff in a way that they would never have been able to achieve alone;
  • Provided significant insight which challenged their thinking and consequently gained new perspectives and ideas.

Humberside Police: Plenty to be proud of

Humberside Police is an award-winning force that has been recognised for its transformation and development, winning Gold for the UK Police Service of the Year at the iESE Public Sector Transformation Awards in London in 2022. The accolade follows just a year after Humberside was the Silver winner in the 2021 Awards.

They have also won a number of Oscar Kilo Awards for their workplace wellbeing provisions in recent years. These include the award for Creating the Environment in 2020, which recognises the hard work and commitment of lots of people across the force in creating an environment where wellbeing is recognised and important to everyone, and the award for Mental Health in 2021 for their Well Together project. They continue to be ambitious about their future and place workforce wellbeing at the heart of everything they do.

Humberside Police has been on a transformational journey and we’re still on that path. When I took on the role of Chief Constable in 2017, it was clear that the fundamental culture of the force needed to change. From day one, I said that the force should be seen as one of the best forces in the country as our communities had a right to expect that and our staff and officers were that good. They have repaid that trust many times over.

The award for UK Police Service of the Year is a recognition of five years of continued effort from across the entire team at Humberside Police. We should all feel proud for what we have achieved to date, it has been a complete cultural change at every level, and I’d like to thank the staff for their continued support, without which, the transformation we’ve seen would not have been possible.

Chief Inspector Lee Freeman, Humberside Police