Hertfordshire police officers stress-busting course at taxpayers’ expense

PUBLISHED: 13:47 09 September 2010 | UPDATED: 16:11 09 September 2010




POLICE are being taught basic human interaction skills at the taxpayers’ expense, it has emerged.

Course trainer Delphine Davies

Officers and staff at Hertfordshire Constabulary have been shown how to socialise and exercise outside of work, as well as develop non-work related hobbies as part of an emotional survival training course.

The five-hour learning to cope course, devised by police welfare officer Delphine Davies, was compulsory for frontline officers, control room staff and dog handlers.

Of the 4,133 officers and staff at the force, which has its headquarters in Stanborough Road, WGC, around 1,500 attended the course completed in 2008 but which only came to light in a national newspaper last week.

One officer told the Telegraph: When we were told we had to go on this course a lot of us burst out laughing.

Being told to breathe deeply and visualise relaxing scenes is all very well, but when youre out on patrol you cant just take 10 minutes to sit down and meditate.

But, he added: It was more about focusing on problems and how we deal with the effects of day-to-day policing and how it affects our lives.

A lot of us found a few good things to take away from it.

A police spokeswoman would not reveal how much the force had spent on the emotional survival course, which included a free lunch.

Grant Shapps

She told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: Much of the cost of the course has been met internally.

Any extra costs incurred have been more than covered by a specially allocated training budget and the corresponding reduction the force has seen in sickness leave since the course was introduced.

Of the course, the spokeswoman said: They [officers and staff] are made aware of the unique stresses in their day-to-day lives and how this can impact negatively on both their work and home life.

"It’s obviously important that the police do look after their staff, but it’s surprising to hear this extends to teaching them how to socialise with friends after work."

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps

They are introduced to coping techniques, including taking part in exercise outside of work, developing non-work related hobbies and socialising with people outside of the job.

The spokeswoman confirmed the course had taken place two years ago, but that, work is ongoing to further develop the course [the first of its kind].

MP Grant Shapps said: Its obviously important that the police do look after their staff, but its surprising to hear this extends to teaching them how to socialise with friends after work.

In these very difficult times, during which enormous efforts are being made by so many to deal with the last governments record deficit, residents will be concerned to learn about the way our constabulary is spending their hard-earned cash.

*What do you think? Is the course a waste of money or is it vital to those working in the police?

Email your views to naiomi.madden@whtimes.co.uk

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