It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since I retired from the Police Service and started in my new role at Castlebrae. It’s amazing how quickly it has passed. Many have said that’s due to age however I’m sticking to the belief that its due to the pace of change that’s occurred within the Charity despite having to overcome the effects of the current social and economic challenges.
The PTC continues to focus on the welfare and treatment of its donors, primarily Police Officers, who due to their dedication to protect the public, continue to place themselves in harm’s way. Disappointingly, assaults on Police Officers continue to rise, over 43,000 in England and Wales in 2022. The injuries sustained by Officers are becoming more serious or result in extensive absence creating more pressure on Forces. It has been identified that Police Officers will be exposed to in excess of 400 traumatic incidents during their service. The persistent exposure to trauma continues to adversely affect Officers and staff psychologically. We continue to explore new treatments at the PTC to assist recovery and where possible prevent the effects of these exposures. Analysis continues to emphasise that for those in policing it will not be a matter of ‘if’ I’m injured or impacted but ‘when’. What’s not seen is that these effects do not end when someone retires or leaves the service or the impact, sometimes devastating, they have on Officers’ families.
I still find during my travels that the PTC remains the ‘best kept secret’ in policing. I would ask everyone who has attended for treatment to highlight their experience and the difference it has made to them.
Trustees recently confirmed their commitment to welfare by keeping the donation rate at £7.80 per month for Serving Officers, which is what you will see on your monthly payslip as a deduction. However, it is worth mentioning that this actually equates to just over £1 per week (net) and this rate hasn’t risen despite the current cost of living crisis, since 2016.
It is also worth pointing out that the cost of a two week stay at the PTC has been assessed as being worth over £2500, so you really are getting tremendous value for your very modest donation. If you do not need the PTC, you know that you are helping to support those of your colleagues who do need it when they attend for treatment.
To remove barriers for attending, we have recently launched ‘flexible’ stays to meet the needs of those who are unable to attend for 2 weeks. We are also trialing a ‘dog’ friendly cottage at Castlebrae! I also want to take this opportunity to reinforce that you do not need to have been injured on duty to attend the PTC. We recognise that the physical and mental toll and challenges of the job spills over into individual’s personal and home lives. You can apply for admission and treatment at the PTC no matter how or where your injury occurred.
The Charity also recently launched a new Online Women’s Health Program that we are delivering virtually. This has already proved extremely popular and information around all our programmes can be found on our website www.thepolicetreatmentcentres.org We continue to refine our ‘Retired Officers Wellbeing Programme’ and have recently purchased new equipment for our Centres, including a ‘Game Ready’ cryotherapy compression unit for Castlebrae. This device is often used within the elite sports world to treat injuries and improve recovery. The Charity is extremely grateful for all the donations we receive, they enable us to invest in our facilities and equipment like the cryotherapy unit.
The next few months are going to be extremely busy at Castlebrae as we commence refurbishment of over 20 bedrooms. The refurbishments are designed to improve Patients’ accommodation, something we feel is important for those attending our Centres on a residential basis for treatment or wellbeing weekends. We are extremely grateful to the Scottish Police Federation for their generous grant which has enabled this refurbishment.
Please stay safe and we look forward to updating you on all the developments in the Charity and progress made at both our Centres in the coming months.
Executive Officer PTC Castlebrae