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Members of the emergency services are at higher risk of experiencing mental health



Emergency service workers are at a higher risk of experiencing a mental health problem. They are the least likely to seek support.

The Charity Mind conducted a survey which revealed that 9 in 10 (87 per cent) of emergency service staff and volunteers have suffered stress, low mood or poor mental health at some point.

Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable Darren Best is the force’s ambassador for the Blue Light Programme – delivered by Mind to provide mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers from police, search and rescue, fire and ambulance services across England.

ACC Best said: “We have made a huge investment in wellbeing and it is very much a priority for us. Our staff deal with difficult and challenging situations on a daily basis and it is only natural this will have an affect on wellbeing. We want to make sure our workforce is supported and have the best possible support at their fingertips.

“Sadly some stigma surrounding mental health still exists. The nature of our job means a lot of our staff may need some form of support during their career. That is nothing to be ashamed of and we should not be afraid of talking about it.

“We work closely with the Blue Light Programme ensuring our staff have specialist support, we have Blue Light Champions across the organisation who are there to talk providing staff with the opportunity to speak with someone in confidence about what they are experiencing.

“Every champion has received specialist training to help support officers and staff when they need it.

“Creating lasting change in our approach to wellbeing is important to us. That is why we’re publicly offering our support to Time to Talk Day, being open about mental health and being ready to listen can make a positive difference to someone’s life.

“On Thursday, we will be encouraging our staff it is Time to Talk.”

Northumbria Police have released some steps to help officers. 

– Mindful Meditation Sessions have been held across the organisation by staff trained in mindful meditation techniques and as part of World Mental Health Day last October we worked in partnership with the NHS on their campaign #PeoplenotPlasters to show support for those facing mental health difficulties.

– Northumbria Police is leading on setting up a regional Blue Light Choir, in partnership between Sage Gateshead, NEMind, and the regional emergency services, after numerous research projects identified the benefits of singing on wellbeing.

– Regular wellbeing events, supported by charities and organisations who focus on health and wellbeing. The events provide advice and guidance to the workforce as well as opportunities to sample some of the services they can provide for staff.

– Appointing a Wellbeing and Engagement Manager.

Case Study

A police officer serving in the North East has opened up about mental health in a bid to get colleagues to talk about the strains of the job.

PC Karl Peterson was 40 years old when he joined Northumbria Police as a response officer – full of excitement at the potential of a future career protecting the people working and living in the North East.

He was posted to Southern Area Command where he thrived alongside the rest of his shift but seven years into his service the constant strain of dealing with blue light calls began to take its toll.

It wasn’t until he sought the help of Northumbria’s Occupational Health Unit (OHU) that he was able to get professional help from a counsellor and return to work as a Neighbourhood Beat Manager in South Tyneside.

Now Karl has made the brave decision to share his experience to try and encourage other members of the emergency services to seek support for any mental health issues they may experience.

He been appointed as one of Northumbria Police’s 30 Blue Light Champions who have received specialist training to recognise the signs of poor mental health in their colleagues and offer advice to those who need it.

Karl, who works in Hebburn and Jarrow Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “When I joined the police I felt alive with excitement and what the future held for me. I could not wait to get to work whatever shift I was on.

“But after a few years things slowly started to change. I felt like I was on an iceberg and it was slowly starting to melt. Eventually, after I had tried to patch it up a dozen or so times, I was left standing on a ice cube slipping into the water.

“I was nearly 50 and I was becoming very tired, I wasn’t sleeping, I was having arguments at home, arguments with supervision and I turned to drinking. I realised I had nothing more to give and little fuel in the tank to continue.

“The final straw was at the beginning of one night shift when my collar number was called on the radio. I started to shake, my heartbeat increased and I began sweating. At this point I knew I could not continue.

“I went to OHU and actually broke down. I realised I needed professional help and my turning point was when I fully engaged with a counsellor during one-to-one sessions. They helped me steady myself and eventually I returned to the station.

“We have excellent facilities at Northumbria Police and both the response and professional manner of the force’s OHU is what prevented me from leaving the job I strived so hard to get in the first place.

“Now I want to give something back by becoming a Blue Light Champion and giving my colleagues the peer support that was not available to me when I was at my lowest point.”



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Ambulance on an blue light call has been bricked in Newcastle



An ambulance crew have been left covered in shards of glass after the ambulance they travelled in was bricked.

This could have easily killed the driver and crew mate, a second ambulance had to be dispatched to the emergency call they could no longer attend.

The ambulance was traveling to a emergency call on blue lights and sirens when a brick was thrown at the windscreen of the ambulance.

Shocked crew members quickly pulled over and contacted police who have now launched an investigation.

The brick was aimed at the driver of the ambulance and without his quick thinking could have easily killed everyone on board.

Anyone who knows who is responsible for this horrific incident is asked to call police on 101.



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93-Year-Old Former Nurse Left In Hospital Corridor For Six Days



A 93 year old former nurse who was awarded an MBE for her services to the NHS was left in a hospital corridor for six days.

Enid Stevens was admitted to hospital after fracturing her spine while putting on her slippers at home.

When she arrived at A&E within St James Hospital in Leeds she never expected she have to wait six hours to be seen, places in a cubicle for another five hours in her urine-soaked clothes.

When Enid was finally given a ward bed, she imagined her ordeal was over and she could settle in to begin her medical treatment and recovery.

Then on the fourth night in the middle of the night at 2am she was woken up and moved to a corridor and kept there for six days.

Enid has admitted that what has happened to her was the ‘most degrading thing I’ve ever experienced’.

“I worked in the NHS from the age of 18 until I retired when I was 59 and every second of that time I was stood up on my feet – I didn’t get an MBE for nothing.

“But I’m not blaming the hospital or the staff there – you have to see it for yourself.

“The place was absolutely heaving – as soon as you ask a nurse to do one thing she’s stopped by someone else to do something else.”

She continued: “There used to be convalescent homes for elderly patients to recover after hospital treatment but the government got rid of them years ago.

“It’s all in A&E and there’s nowhere to put people except in the corridor. I’m just lucky I had my daughter to go backwards and forwards for everything.”

The nurse was awarded an MBE in 1983 for services to Seacroft Hospital in Leeds

She was admitted to hospital via Ambulance on the 6th March saying “I was soaked-through with urine in my clothes – it was like a nightmare.

“A nurse passed by so I asked her for some clean clothes but she never came back so I sat there for five hours wet-through.”

She was moved to a ward and then a corridor “That’s where I was left for six days.

“I was blocking the entrance to a doctor’s consultation room so I had to be shoved out of the way when the doctors brought patients’ families in to speak with them”

Her daughter Barbara Brook said: “Mum was right next to where they kept the apron and mask dispensers and the staff had to lean over her to get them.

“It was so upsetting for her – just awful really.”

Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Our communication with Mrs Stevens and her family during her stay should have been better and I sincerely apologise for her experience of care.

“Mrs Stevens was cared for in a non-designated bed space for longer than is acceptable and I am sorry that we weren’t able to move her to a dedicated bed space during her stay.

“Unfortunately there are pressures across the whole health and social care system which impact on our ability to discharge some patients who need further non-hospital support or care.”

“Regrettably we sometimes have to move some patients to a non-designated bed space for a temporary period of time.

“This is so we can meet the needs of patients who require closer clinical observation and monitoring.”



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Policing and Ethics Panels… are they really working?



Every Police force across the U.K. has a code of ethics and a panel to go with it.

They meet every six weeks and talk about ethics within policing. These panels expect the highest standards of behaviour and conduct from the police officers and staff within the force.

Surely these code of ethics should also be a reflection and followed by those independent people who sit on these panels.

They expect the highest standards from those officers, but we as members of the public should also expect the highest standards of behaviour from those who sit within these panels.

We should expect these standards to be adhered to within everyday life and within the online social media world. After all if the code of ethics panels cannot adhere to these basic standards how can we expect others too.

What are the code of ethics?

The Code of Ethics is a code of practice for the principles and standards of behaviour that applies to the police service in England and Wales.

The code of ethics applies to anyone working on behalf of the police service which actually also includes those members of the panels which in some cases don’t seem to follow their own ethics.

We expect from those who are working within the police service as a basic. .

  • Acting with honesty and integrity, fairness and impartiality.
  • Treating members of the public and their colleagues with respect.
  • Not abusing their powers and authority.
  • Acting in a manner that does not discredit or undermine public confidence in the police service.

Making Ethical Decisions

The Code of Ethics promotes the use of the National Decision Model (NDM) to help embed ethical reasoning in accordance with policing principles and expected standards of behaviour.

The model allows people to be more questioning of the situations confronting them, more challenging of themselves and better able to make ethical and effective decisions.

The model places the Code of Ethics at the centre of all decision making.

This reminds those in the policing profession that they should consider the principles and expected standards of behaviour set out in the Code at every stage of making decisions.

The NDM is inherently exible. It can be applied to spontaneous incidents or planned operations, by an individual or teams of people, and to operational and non-operational situations.

It can also be expanded as appropriate for specialist and other areas of policing. The NDM also works well for reviewing and debrie ng decisions and actions.

In every case the elements of the NDM stay the same, but users decide for themselves which questions and considerations they apply at

each stage.

Understanding, practising and using the NDM helps people develop the knowledge and skills necessary to make ethical, proportionate and defensible decisions in all policing situations.

In a fast-moving incident, the main priority of decision makers is to keep in mind the principles and standards set out in the Code of Ethics.

You are not expected to know the Code of Ethics word for word. What is expected is that you apply the intent of the Code to your decisions and ask yourself questions such as:

• Is my decision in line with the principles and expected behaviours outlined in the Code of Ethics?

• Will this action or decision re ect well on my professionalism and policing generally?

• Would I be comfortable explaining this action or decision to my supervisor?

• Would I be prepared to defend this action or decision in public?

Independent Ethical Panels

We understand the value that ethics panels add to all levels of the police service but do they add anything to policing? Are they just talking and achieving nothing? Some would say they are an invaluable resource.

It could be argued that some members of these independent ethical panels aren’t adhering to the values of the purpose of the ethical panels, some are publicly acting in a way to deliberately undermine public confidence in the police service to achieve and follow their own agenda publicly targeting police officers and members of the public in a way that is verging on the boundaries of Harassment and malicious communications all in the name of Ethical policing.

These members are going unchallenged because they believe they are simply above the law when it comes to Ethical Policing and we have to questions the motives for these people wanting to be on Ethical Panels.

Members of these panels are not acting honestly, with integrity, fairness and impartiality these panels.

So we would question the direct ethics of these ethical policing panels.

And ask ourselves are they worth the money spent on them?

Do they just create problems that don’t exist? Are they overthinking the whole thing?

Or are they adding value to the service, valuable change and meaningful discussions?

We know that many members of Ethical Panels are adhering to these standards and do have the right intentions but it is now your challenge to ensure other members no longer go unchecked.

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