Groundbreaking police sleep, fatigue and recovery programme receives Police STAR funding

Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service, has been awarded a Police STAR funding grant to conduct a comparative study of its sleep fatigue and recovery biometrics programme in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

May 16, 2024
By Paul Jacques

Over the past two years, Oscar Kilo has been working with Merseyside Police, LJMU and international subject matter experts to develop a 120-day programme which harnesses the latest in biometric technology, data solutions and online learning.

Numerous surveys and studies show that sleep and fatigue are huge issues in policing and can be the catalyst for a number of other issues affecting physical and mental health.

Not only that, but they are also highly stigmatised and often misunderstood. This programme has been developed to:

  • Provide people with a personalised solution to help them better understand their own health and wellbeing;
  • Give them the data which will provide them with an accurate picture of their sleep, fatigue and recovery rates;
  • Increase their awareness of why they may be feeling tired, stressed or anxious; and
  • Provide educational resources to help people improve the areas where they may need help.

It has been piloted in several forces with more than 700 officers and staff having already taken part, and is about to move into its third phase, opening up to a further 27 police forces.

Service Director for the National Police Wellbeing Service Andy Rhodes OBE QPM said; “We have been working in partnership with LJMU, Merseyside Police and several other early adopter forces to develop this highly innovative programme.

“This Police STAR grant will enable us to independently evaluate the impact of the programme we have created using feedback from operational users.

“Developing a programme which is ‘created by policing for policing’ has been a huge challenge and we are excited about working with LJMU to add depth to our initial findings with an ambition, one day, to provide this support for anyone in policing who wants to benefit.

“Not only do we believe this programme will have huge benefits for the individuals who take part, it will also help us understand at a local and national level the impacts of sleep, fatigue, and recovery on officers and staff.

“The overarching trends and themes creating a clearer picture which means we can make more informed decisions and tailor health and wellbeing strategies and interventions and provide more meaningful support for everyone who works in policing.”

Dr Carol Cox, Head of Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies at LJMU, said; “At a time when officers and staff are facing significant workload and resource pressures and many experiencing major health issues, this research is timely and follows on from our pilot studies which have focused on monitoring wellbeing in forces across the UK.

“This study on using wearable technology methods allow us to better understand the quality of life of police officers and staff and their motivations for behaviour change, whilst ensuring the anonymity of individuals.”

“The research, which will run for 12 months from July, involves experts in policing, health, mathematics, psychology and exercise science.”

Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims said: “Working at Merseyside Police is a hugely rewarding but often challenging role.

“This study will help us to gain a greater understanding of the true impact those challenges have on our officers and staff and in turn enable us to take practical steps to address it.

“The stresses and strains of the job do, in some cases, affect the quality of sleep our workforce have. We know poor sleep can contribute to physical and mental health issues, so our involvement with Oscar Kilo aims to help our officers and staff manage their sleep better and enjoy all the benefits that brings in both their personal and professional lives.

“I am proud that Merseyside Police has piloted this service, enabling us to provide our incredibly dedicated officers and staff with a service that has their wellbeing well and truly at its heart at the earliest possible opportunity. We look forward to seeing it progress further as it is rolled out to other forces up and down the country.”

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