Plans to create a new service offering support, help and advice to injured police officers have taken another step forward after a successful second virtual focus group meeting.
Wounded Blue Line will be a one-stop shop which provides injured frontline workers with vital information and guidance on issues such as benefit entitlement, what they can claim while off work, what help is available to them and how it can be accessed.
The project is being spearheaded by Police Federation national wellbeing lead Belinda Goodwin and her Staffordshire branch colleague Claire Bond who hosted last week’s online event.
They want the network to become a safe environment for injured officers and their families to talk openly about their own experiences, setbacks and goals so invited guest speakers to share their stories.
Former Staffordshire Police officer Mark Calladine described the impact two road traffic accidents in 2017 had on him and his family. He has since retired on health grounds.
He said was offered support by his Force after the accidents but felt much more could be done to help family members who are often badly affected when an officer is involved in a life-changing trauma.
Belinda said: “We want Wounded Blue Line to fill that gap with local champions taking up a sort of family liaison officer role to offer help and support the loved ones of members involved in accidents.”
Another speaker, Metropolitan Police officer and mental health first aid trainer Steve McQueenie, talked about his experiences as a survivor of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand and how he came to terms with the traumatic aftermath.
Belinda and Claire said feedback from those who attended was positive but acknowledged it was still early days. They plan to hold further meetings with colleagues who want to get involved with Wounded Blue Line to discuss in greater detail the best ways of moving the project forward.