University of Leicester-led programme to help police officers approaching retirement wins award

L-R: Stuart Noble, Dr Ceri Jones, Prof Noelle Robertson and Dr Max Jennings

Psychologists from the University of Leicester have won a national award for their innovative work supporting senior police leaders’ well-being.

Police superintendents from police forces across England and Wales are benefiting from the Resilient Leaders Police Superintendents Programme (RESLEAPS) a peer support programme for senior officers as they prepare to retire from the police force.

The RESLEAPS team, who have developed the programme at the University of Leicester, have been recognised by the Association for Business Psychology, winning the Excellence in Health and Wellbeing Award 2022.

Based within the School of Psychology and Vision Science’s Clinical Psychology Unit, the programme is led by Dr Ceri Jones, Professor Noelle Robertson and retired Police Chief Superintendent, Stuart Noble.

The RESLEAPS programme is funded by Gillette as part of the Movember International Veteran and First Responders Mental Health Programme.

Specifically, the RESLEAPS programme acknowledges the stresses that are intrinsic to the senior rank of superintendent and can increase the likelihood of experiencing burnout.

Repeated exposure to traumatic incidents over a typical 30-year police career can heighten the risk of developing anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Stress can also arise as officers approach retirement, particularly for men who identify strongly with their role, leaving them vulnerable to poor mental health and increased risk of suicidality.

RESLEAPS has been created as a preventative programme to improve the psychological safety of police officers and create strong peer networks as they progress into senior roles and eventually retire.

The programme involves reflective practice groups and trained peer supporters to foster a trusting culture within police forces, reduce stigma in seeking support and create a safe space for officers to share their concerns.

Dr Ceri Jones said: “We are delighted to have won the Association of Business Psychology Excellence in Health and Wellbeing Award.

The RESLEAPS programme enhances well-being during the transition into retirement by developing strong and supportive peer support networks, reducing senior officers’ vulnerability to poor mental health.

The Movember funding has enabled us to maximise the benefits at scale by rolling out the programme to a number of forces across the UK “

“It is a privilege to deliver the RESLEAPS programme and witness its positive impact on officers’ resilience and wellbeing as they transition into retirement and beyond.”