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Extra counselling for Highland police exposed to traumatic events such as suicides and car crashes

By Staff Reporter

POLICE officers in the Highlands are to get extra counselling because they are more regularly exposed to traumatic incidents.

The recommendation was presented by Chief Constable Iain Livingstone to a board meeting of the Scottish Police Authority on Wednesday.

Because of the large geographical area, officers in the Highlands and Islands are more likely to be exposed to incidents such as suicides and car crashes on a more regular basis than their colleagues in more populated areas elsewhere in Scotland.

Local officers are often the only available responders to deal with serious incidents, while in other parts of the country the burden is spread more evenly.

In 2018, work was commissioned with the accredited mental health organisation See Me in Work, including a Workplace Mental Health Survey, which resulted in an action plan being developed.

According to the Chief Constable’s report, the local police commander in Highland and Islands Division had highlighted the issue.

Mr Livingstone said: “Following successful application, to Police Care UK, in August 2019 funding of almost £125,000 was secured to employ a local mental health wellbeing co-ordinator for two years and fund activity for three years.

“This will ensure that the particular issues which may be experienced by officers and staff in Highland and Islands Division can be better addressed locally, supplementing and complementing the corporate support which continues to be available to all officers and staff across Police Scotland.”

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