Police officers and staff put themselves in harm’s way psychologically and physically on behalf of the public. But behind this they are human beings who experience stress and trauma which can have a profound impact.

FCN has successfully applied for £150,000 of research funding through the Home Office’s Science Technology, Analysis and Research (STAR) scheme to study the issue. This is one of FCN’s latest funding successes, with the organisation reaching a milestone of £1m in additional forensic research funding in June 2022.

The project, which is scheduled to last one year, will harness data analytics to support the wellbeing in the workplace of digital forensic staff and CSIs.

Up to 50 participants from various police forces will capture data with wearable devices, psychometric tests, surveys, evaluative games and existing force contextual information. Data analytics will then inform the individual about their wellbeing status and provide them with real-time information to help them build resilience, increase their self-awareness, and access any interventions.

The technology system used is called My Work-Life Analytics and is provided by ihp Analytics. The company states it is “not just a wellness app, it’s a proven, pioneering digital technology that gives unique insight into how to optimise the health, wellbeing and performance of your workforce and your business”.

It system will also supply organisations with a dashboard of anonymised data showing the health of their teams. This may enable employers to plan team interventions, measure their effectiveness, complement existing processes, and better manage risks associated with their challenging work.

The technology has been used in other sectors but policing poses an entirely different set of challenges based on the environments officers and staff work, especially in digital forensics and crime scenes.

FCN workforce strategy lead Paula Mulroy said:

“Ultimately we believe this project could help improve police staff and officers’ wellbeing. At the same time, it could optimise the workforce data that organisations hold which would mean better resourcing models and reduced sickness.”

Find out more about FCN’s research and development activities.