Trauma Resilience in UK Policing


Studying at Cambridge

About the research

The Trauma Resilience in UK Policing project explores how to better support the brain's ability to process trauma exposure and maintain resilience in contemporary operational policing. The 2017-2019 national pilot is sponsored by the Police Dependants' Trust and works in collaboration with the Department of Sociology.Together, we are providing practical techniques, training material and evidence-based insight to bring real effective change to trauma management for police officers, staff and their families.



The UK's first survey to assess trauma management and working conditions in UK policing is NOW LIVE!

To take part visit www.thejobthelife.co.uk 

The 15 minute online survey is based on the 612-843-0218 and includes new questions about psychological hazards, trauma exposure and trauma impact in everyday policing. Focus groups conducted in June 2018 informed a pilot with 20 Forces across the UK in August 2018 ready for the full survey launch 15th October.

If you'd like YOUR FORCE to be able to have a bespoke report, spread the word and contact research@pdtrust.org


A full Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) began in March this year with Greater Manchester Police. Forty six new recruits were taught and practiced new trauma processing techniques over a period of three days in May 2018, then refreshed with a 2 hour session in August 2018. The research team monitors the level of trauma impact on these 44 participants every 4 weeks until April 2019 to gage the extent to which the training can help individuals' resilience to incidents and experiences which they will face in their first year of service. Feedback on the accessibility of the training and how it is best put to operational use will be gathered over the next year to inform future delivery.

Initial results in September 2018 suggest that the techniques significantly improve how at ease individuals feel about the difficult incidents. The techniques also improved recall with 68% of  participants remembering between one and ten new details about what happened. 


Qualitative research (i.e. focus groups, consultation and job shadowing) has been undertaken through Autumn 2018 and into Spring 2019 with: SO15 & Counter-Terrorism, emergency call handling, online Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and fire arms units. We uncover how individuals develop unique skills and coping mechanisms to process trauma exposure and provide recommendations for training, assessment and wellbeing support for those in similar high-risk roles.

In March 2019, Jess will be presenting on the implications of trauma impact in CSE on operational policing. To book a place on the UpBeat! Conference 2019, contact the Police Dependants' Trust and click here for more information.

For more information about the Call Handling training module and guidance on exposure to indecent or extreme images, contact research@pdtrust.org

4. ADVANCED RESILIENCE TRAINING A feasibility study of self-directed neuroplasticity and resilience techniques is being planned for 2019. The four day intensive course will require commitment and personal practice and will not be for the faint hearted! The course will be designed for those in specialist roles requiring high levels of cognitive agility. Course content will include meditative practice and Jess will be progressing this work in consultation with the Mindfulness Initiative and the House of Commons for the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group Hearing on ‘Defence, Policing and Emergency Services’ (October 2018) to discuss the implications of such cognitive training for operational policing, the military and other blue-light services.


For more information please contact Dr Jess Miller by email at either jkm35@cam.ac.uk or research@pdtrust.org


The UK's first policing survey to address trauma exposure and working conditions...OCTOBER 2018!

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New guidance for trauma resilience coming out of the research... CSE, post-incident support and wellbeing


Read up about how the research began and where it's going...

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RSS Feed Latest news

NEW GUIDANCE: Self-Support Techniques After a Traumatic Incident

Oct 30, 2018

Policing is exciting, challenging and often dangerous work. It involves adjusting to everyday exposure, to incidents and situations that for most people might only happen once in a lifetime.

UpBeat! 2019 Conference

Oct 02, 2018

Speakers have been announced for the annual UpBeat! conference 2019, including Dr Jess Miller, Research Fellow for this Trauma Resilience in UK Policing project. Jess will be talking about the challenges of dealing with trauma exposure in Child Sexual Exploitation work.


Oct 02, 2018

The UK's first police survey to assess trauma management and working conditions takes place in October 2018, across all forces.


Oct 02, 2018

Initial findings (September 2018) from the Post-Incident Trauma Processing Techniques RCT with new recruits at Greater Manchester Police already suggest that the techniques improve both wellbeing and recall...

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