Ongoing Project

Workforce Wellbeing

Tackling occupational stress in frontline policing

Project summary

The Challenge

Responding to a recent review, Humberside Police wanted a better understanding of the gaps and obstacles regarding workforce wellbeing

The Approach

Working with Humberside Police, psychologists at the Centre for Human Factors produced a comprehensive report which encapsulated the key challenges

The Outcome

The research highlighted the core themes linked to occupational stress in policing and will be used to inform and shape the force’s priorities

Lead academics

Project partners

The Challenge

The aim of this work was to provide Humberside Police with timely information about the experiences and perspectives of staff in relation to the organisation’s existing health and wellbeing provisions. The specific challenge this project addresses is obtaining a better understanding of the gaps and obstacles regarding workforce wellbeing.

Our team undertook interviews and focus groups with staff across the force. During these sessions, it was reported that staff and senior leaders felt more information and support was needed to facilitate the identification of day-to-day stressors and preventative strategies, and that it was not always clear to the workforce what is available to support wellbeing and how to access those services.

In 2018, an internal review was completed of Humberside Police’s Health and Wellbeing provision, which identified a number of challenges and thus kickstarted their improvements in this particular area. As a result, the University of Hull’s expertise in this field was sought in order to clarify these issues and to help identify appropriate interventions and solutions.

Centre for Human Factors

The findings and recommendations from the research have since been used to inform the design of health and wellbeing practices and to ensure the force has in place the kinds of resources, training, and support that staff and managers need to aid them in the future.

Two female police officers

The Approach

The Centre for Human Factors team set out to really dig down into the detail of every area and understand difficulties and flaws in the way operations were currently functioning in relation to wellbeing.

The work aimed to achieve this through mapping what was already available and gathering data from across the workforce about how the existing provisions were ‘landing’ with staff and officers.

The team were able to provide the academic rigour that sits behind the analysis of the extensive data obtained from the focus groups which gave the findings significant weight. Overall, it was a really positive experience, working with an entirely professional and very organised team. Could not have asked for anymore. Highly recommend.’’ – Clare Baggs (Head of HR, Humberside Police)

Clare Baggs - Head of Human Resources, Humberside Police

Over a four-month period, data collection consisted of a force wellbeing literature review, six focus groups with staff, police constables, sergeants and inspectors, and six interviews with chief inspectors and superintendents. A thorough approach to qualitative data analysis was undertaken by a team of four psychologists, and findings and recommendations were then taken to a consulting team including organisational, health, occupational and clinical psychologists from the University of Hull (UoH) for final refinement.


In doing so, the project delivered a sound grasp of organisational challenges, and the force has used the findings to design and deliver highly effective programmes of change.

Police motorcycle

The Impact

The insights generated have helped raise the profile of the need to improve our approach to wellbeing with senior leaders, and also supports the business case for further investment in this area. Any organisation who is serious about investing in a way that genuinely addresses the health and wellbeing of their staff needs to understand where their gaps are – not just where they think they are – and this project helped us to do that.

Clare Baggs - Head of HR, Humberside Police

Representatives from Humberside Police said that the work:

  • Provided findings and recommendations to help develop their Health and Wellbeing Functional Plan for the coming 12 months.
  • Brought to life the challenges in relation to the health and wellbeing of the staff in a way that they would never have been able to achieve alone.
  • Provided significant insight which challenged their thinking and consequently gained new perspectives and ideas.