March 21, 2022 12.05 pm

Wellbeing van to assist officers at major incidents

A new welfare van will provide hard working Humberside Police officers and staff with a much-needed space to rest, shelter and get hot food and a drink when they’re policing major incidents.

The van has a toilet, fridge, microwave and seating, and will offer hot and cold drinks, hot food and snacks. It also has seating where officers can enjoy a well deserved rest and mobile phone charging points.

The new Humberside Police welfare van – dubbed ‘Brews and Two’s’ – has been jointly funded by the force’s Welfare and Benevolent Fund, UNISON and the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Humberside Police Federation Chair Lee Sims said: “I saw that we were going out on scenes such as murder inquiries where cops weren’t really looked after. Unfortunately, they were out for long periods of time and were unable to go to the toilet and were unable to have hot drinks.

“So we decided to get a welfare van, which will support police officers and staff by being deployed to major incidents, like missing person enquiries, rooftop sieges, any sort of scene or incident where large numbers of police officers are going to be there for a long time.

“I’d like to thank the Welfare and Benevolent Fund, UNISON and the PCC for their contributions to this van, which have gone towards solely helping the members.”

Federation Secretary Rob Grunner added: “This van will certainly support cops. Having both been cops on the frontline, Lee and I have stood on scene guards, freezing cold, in the middle of the night, so it’ll be a really valuable asset to enable officers just to have a sit down, to get food, to get drinks. It’s all about their wellbeing and welfare.”

Supervisors will also be able to do a call-out for the van, for instance if there’s been a major road traffic collision where they know their officers will be on the scene for many hours.

Rob said they would also be taking the van to open days and station visits, where they could talk to members about the services the Federation provides, from group insurance to healthcare.

Deputy Chief Constable of Humberside Police, Paul Anderson, said that all parties were really proud of the new van.

He said: “Policing is a really, really hard job. To have a facility like this, it can be deployed in a number of situations. It’s like a little movable office, a bit of shelter, somewhere to relax, get a drink. We’re absolutely delighted with it.

“I think it would be fair to say policing has never been a straightforward career, it’s always been hard and unpredictable. So this is important, because we need to do everything possible to make it better for the officers and staff.”

Humberside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Jonathan Evison, agreed that the van was fantastic. He said: “I’d seen a similar thing in the fire brigade, because I’m also on the fire authority, and I thought to myself, ‘Why haven’t we done this before?’

“I’m really, really pleased and I think the officers will appreciate it. Especially in the winter when it’s freezing cold, with driving snow perhaps, on a motorway embankment. At least there is some opportunity to actually get out of that weather, in those conditions.”

Ellie Price-Green from UNISON, which also helped fund the van, said: “More often than not, the van is going to be supporting our police officer colleagues, but it will be an absolute godsend to our PCSOs when they’re out on scene watches, when they’ve been working long shifts and they’ve got nowhere to go for a drink, they’ve got nowhere to go to sit down, they’ve got nowhere to go to the toilet.

“I think it’s been recognised for a long time that it’s a bit of a calling, doing this job. It’s a vocation. It’s not something that people take on lightly and they dedicate their lives to it.

“Welfare and wellbeing is vital if we’re going to continue to provide that service to members of the public. I think this shows that we’re investing back in colleagues.”