The randomised control trial split police officers and staff into three groups – one who used Mindfit Cop, another who used a different mindfulness app and website and a group who did not use either product.
Involving more than 1,300 officers and staff, it found officers and staff using the two mindfulness products had improved average performance in their job, resilience and wellbeing in comparison to the group who were not using either product.
The result was the creation of a free online mindfulness package, called ‘Mindfit Cop’, which officers and staff can complete in half-hour sessions over eight weeks.
It was developed by Detective Inspector Jenni McIntyre-Smith from Bedfordshire Police and leading UK mindfulness trainer Michael Chaskalson.
The College of Policing, working with DI McIntyre-Smith and wellbeing researchers from the University of East Anglia, provided funding to design the programme and carry out the trial.
Rachel Tuffin, Director at the College of Policing, said: “Today marks the beginning of International Stress Awareness Week and several recent surveys have shown those working in policing are less likely than other emergency services to seek help and support to deal with the pressures and demands their jobs entail. DI McIntyre-Smith’s programme is one practical option.
“Mindfit Cop has been successfully trialled and is a free innovative resource developed by policing, for policing.”
DI McIntyre-Smith said she knew she wanted to bring mindfulness into policing after completing her own eight-week course and realising its benefits when working in a fast-paced, pressurised job.
“I knew then that I wanted to make this training available to policing as there were so many benefits.
“I am so pleased with the results of this project and so proud that my work can now be used by everyone working in policing across England and Wales,” she said.
Rachel Tuffin added there is yet more to come.
“In the National Police Wellbeing Service, we are developing other practical toolkits and products which officers and staff can access at any time as part of our ongoing commitment to improve their mental and physical health support,” she said.
The police forces which took part in the randomised control trial were Avon and Somerset, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and South Wales.