Stress Management as a Part of Police Work
In recent years, there has been an increased interest in stress and its impact on the police workforce. The topic is important because there is an established connection between stress and health, and also the ability to perform during work-related situations that evoke a strong stress response. This paper focuses mainly on stress responses experienced in operational police work. Other potential sources of stress, such as organisational stress, are outside of the scope of this paper. The topic is approached by reviewing research findings on police-related stress research and the practices that are utilised by the Finnish national police. The scenarios encountered as a part of police work evoke both psychological and physiological stress responses. These stress responses either assist or hinder the ability to function in a situation. The paper describes a training method that has been developed in cooperation between Police University College, Finland and the University of Toronto, Canada, to moderate stress responses. The main themes of other research work completed between the two parties are summarised. This includes the police workforce’s perceptions on the interaction between stress and health, and the preferred interventions for addressing the symptoms of stress. Not all stress responses and their potential subsequent impact can be avoided by training and careful preparation. This paper also summarises the practice of aftercare procedures in the Finnish national police. In an optimally functioning organisation, both preparation and aftercare procedures are thought through and put into practice. The training of the workforce also has an important role to play. The paper summarises the training method that is based on research ndings and is utilised as a part of the training of police students in Police University College, Finland.
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