Neuroscience shows that brains can rewire. This rewiring can be used to process experiences better over time and Police Care UK have developed practical tools to do this: Trauma Impact Prevention Techniques (TIPT).
Our 2019 research (Policing: The Job & The Life) revealed alarming levels of Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) in serving UK police at 12%. C-PTSD is where, as well as the symptoms of PTSD (such as hypervigilance, sleep disturbance, re-experiencing etc), the ‘drip-drip-drip’ effect of trauma exposure leads feelings of low self-worth and an inability to regulate emotions. Nearly 60% of officers and staff also told us that they didn't have enough time to make sense of a difficult incident before moving on to the next job.
Given the fewer resources and increasing demand on policing (especially with the Covid 19 pandemic), now more than ever officers and staff need structured support with trauma on the job. Neuroscience shows that brains can rewire. This rewiring can be used to process experiences better over time and Police Care UK have developed practical tools to do this: Trauma Impact Prevention Techniques (TIPT).
TIPT is preventative training and it is separate to trauma intervention, therapy, treatment and TRiM. The techniques are simple to learn (individually or in groups), are immediately effective and can be delivered online or face-to-face.
TIPT is all about making sense of incidents, much like in an investigation. Rather than having a difficult incident up-close-and-personal and playing on your mind, TIPT helps train the brain to gather all the information it needs to file experiences away in its time and place. The training involves using maps, timelines and safety cues with pen and paper. The exercises allow the brain to recognise that the situation is as resolved as can be so we can move on to the next job - feeling more present, focussed and generally more at ease.
The techniques work by boosting a particular part of the brain (the hippocampus) that is key to trauma processing and stress regulation. The techniques encourage us to recall challenging incidents from different perspectives and from longer time frames and to include other elements of the situation, that may have been positive, neutral or even dull. This enables us to feel that what happened wasn’t personal and gives us a bigger picture of the incident. By reflecting back on what we learned, what worked well, and what made sense, we can turn our attention more happily to the here and now.
From March 2021 Police Care UK are delivering TIPT in several formats.
Online for up to 10 people, 3 hours including animation and film. Delivery in advance of wristbands, pencils and workbooks at £2.50 per head to support Police Care UK.
Online for up to 8 trainers (to be selected by forces with Police Care UK recommended criteria), 5 hours, digital presentation with full script, animation, film and workbook. 12 months follow-up support available from Assessor Advisors and Trainer Champions. Wristbands, pencils and hard copy workbooks will be chargeable at a minimum of 10 per trainer (no maximum)
(CSE, CT, FLO, call handlers and firearms): online for up to 10 people either as one-off sessions or as a Train-The-Trainer, 4 hours, includes full script, animation and film. Available to suit networks (such as CT and FL). 12 months follow-up support available.
For force implementation of TIPT to support TRiM, Occupational Health, and resilience infrastructure in specific environments (such as control rooms) and SIO training. For this service, we may ask for a donation to the charity should the work exceed one day.
In exceptional circumstances, the Director of Research at Police Care UK can deliver one-off bespoke Critical Incident TIPT sessions (after 4 weeks, face-to-face with force clinical support and trauma screening following NICE guidelines) to support teams of up to 8.
If you think we might be able to help you, then get in touch as we are always willing to assist if we can! If you would like to find out more about any of our offers email TIPT@policecare.org.uk.
TIPT is an an evidence-based programme based on neuropsychological research, which has been tested, peer reviewed and risk-assessed by the University of Cambridge to be safe and effective in policing training environments. The first Randomised Controlled Trial was conducted in Manchester 2017-2019 after the Manchester Arena attack, under the steer of the Police Federation of England & Wales, the National Police Wellbeing Lead and acting Chief Medical Officer, a world-leading clinical trauma psychologist and representation from officers from five forces. The results spoke for themselves. The techniques significantly improved how "at ease" individuals felt about the difficult incidents, with a large effect size. Ninety-nine percent of participants were able to recall and use "safety cues" to reset the stress response.
The techniques also improved recall with over 65% of participants remembering between one and ten new details about what happened. Feedback on the accessibility of the training and how it is best to put to operational use (as well as our data from the trial) all came together in our paper in Police Journal: Theory, Practice, Principles in July 2019. The paper is available from SAGE publications and we hope its findings will resonate with - and have implications for - policing beyond trauma resilience, including post-incident operational practice, force resilience programmes, therapeutic interventions and wider forensic investigation. Access the full article published in the Police Journal through Sage Publications here.
Of the (over) 1200 officers trained through the Train-The-Trainer model in 2020, fewer than one in 150 delegates experienced difficulty in the training sessions pertaining to trauma retriggering (an understandable concern for those not yet familiar with the training). What is more, detailed control data (n-32) was collected between September 2020 and March 2021 which measured in-session health and wellbeing (using the Edinburgh-Warwick questionnaire) as was felt sense of ease about the training incident scenario being used (on a Visual Rating Scale of 0 to 10) and item recall. Results indicated that wellbeing was consistent throughout the training sessions and that both improvement in ease of feeling and improvement in recall about the incident were demonstrated as an effect of the techniques rather than an effect of simply time. spent reflecting on the incident.
Knowledge tests about the techniques also showed them to be teachable and learnable within the training session time (an average of four hours). Since 2019, the Trauma Impact Prevention Techniques (TIPT) have been taken up by thousands of officers across the UK based on positive experiences and word of mouth between forces with consistent and highly positive feedback. Non-police bodies and other emergency response services regularly express interest in the techniques and acknowledge their applicability to - and relevance for- any occupation which involves frequent exposure to challenging, difficult and potentially traumatic human experiences.
Our core TIPT Team of force implementation leads, trainer champions, assessors and advisers can tell you more about how TIPT is genuinely received on the ground- just email TIPT@policecare.org.uk
TIPT is offered freely by Police Care UK, including digital content. We ask you to kindly respect copyright and to be sensitive to the charity's aim to support those in need by not reproducing or sharing TIPT content within or between forces without prior approval from the Director of Research. TIPT material is not to be shared with a third party and is designed specifically for UK police officers and staff. In receiving Train-The-Trainer TIPT, forces agree: to only select force TIPT trainers who have appropriate qualifications and Accredited Prior Learning to do so*; to train TIPT in pairs with appropriate welfare contact details and in-session wellbeing support; and to keep accurate records of delivery dates, numbers of trainees and orders of material and merchandise to provide Police Care UK with for impact monitoring purposes.
* We recommend trainers have: Police Trainers Cert, L3 NVQ, Certificate In Education, MHFA Trainer/Train-The-Trainer TRiM Practitioner/Train-The-Trainer OR equivalent adult education qualification, AND /or professional knowledge/role/extensive experience of training adults in wellbeing/psychological techniques, plus successful completion of TIPT Train-The-Trainer.
Trauma Impact Prevention Techniques are designed to help make sense of difficult incidents in response policing. (TIPT is not a trauma intervention, nor a therapy, nor a treatment.) The techniques provide a structured opportunity for individuals and teams to take a moment to put unusual or challenging scenarios into context, before moving on to the next job. TIPT is a paper-based exercise using maps, timelines and safety cues. It can be delivered online or face-to-face.
The general techniques are straightforward. Maps and timelines are already common features of interviewing techniques and intelligence gathering. The difference with TIPT techniques is they are specifically designed to stimulate an important part of the brain that helps process trauma. This part of the brain needs to keep activated so it can process incidents healthily. This helps improve personal resilience.
Individuals report more ‘objectivity’ and ease of feeling when recalling difficult incidents after using the techniques. They also report that they regularly share the techniques with peers. As an organisation, forces using TIPT are able to demonstrate their support of officer and staff wellbeing - and their proactive management of trauma exposure impact on the job.
TIPT is based on long-standing neuropsychological research which has now been applied and tested in policing training environments. TIPT training has been rolled out to over a thousand officers across the UK in its first year. Officers and staff tell us themselves how the techniques work for them and Police Care UK collates feedback from each and every training session to monitor efficacy. For further information on the science behind the techniques, visit: www.policingtrauma.sociology.cam.ac.uk
TIPT techniques are not a clinical nor operational intervention. They are deliberately designed to complement existing force support. For example, TRiM is a reactive intervention to trigger contact and trauma support post-incident, whereas TIPT is more about developing everyday skills for the healthy processing of difficult experiences. TRiM and TIPT can work together.
TIPT was designed 2017-2019 with a Steering Group comprising the Vice-Chair and Wellbeing Lead for the Police Federation of England & Wales, the National Wellbeing Lead, the acting Chief Medical Officer for the UK Policing, a world-leading clinical psychologist specialising in trauma processing and a selection of officers from five UK forces. Ethics Clearance and Risk Assessment was conducted by the University of Cambridge. The feasibility study (Randomised Controlled Trial, RCT) was peer reviewed and published in 2019 in a policing journal. The project is under continual review with clinical leads, collecting monitoring and control data.
TIPT follows NICE Guidelines that specify that no emotional or psychological intervention should interfere with individuals’ immediate natural processing of traumatic events. TIPT is not a psychological treatment, therapy or intervention. Techniques are only designed to help officers up-skill to make sense of difficult experiences on the job and do not involve working with psychological, emotional or traumatic impact.
The techniques are designed for police to use in everyday working life. The RCT demonstrated well that training in the techniques is safe and does no harm. TIPT training sessions clearly specify that for their own wellbeing-delegates should only ever use non-traumatic scenarios with which to train. This is reiterated in Terms & Conditions. There have been no reported adverse effects of training in or using TIPT to date.
Police Care UK can currently supply TIPT ‘Train-The-Trainer’, workplace assessment and licencing free of charge to UK Police Forces. Forces will need to purchase subsequent delegate packs for their workforce at a nominal cost of £2:50 per head which includes TIPT Workbook, wristband and pencil.
The Police Care UK Train-The-Trainer model provides training for up to 5 pairs of wellbeing leads or trainers in one session. Trainers will then be assessed training up to 10 delegates each. Once trained, assessed and certified, forces are at liberty to train as many officers and staff as they require. More information is provided in the TIPT Terms & Conditions or by emailing TIPT@policecare.org.uk.
In 2020, over 1000 officers and staff have been trained in the techniques. Many trainers in our forces who have rolled out the techniques locally are happy to talk about what it’s like to get the training, how to get it up and running and how to achieve the best outcomes possible.
If you’d like to talk to another force about the reality of TIPT in practice or if you’d like to talk to the Police Care UK TIPT Team, please email us at TIPT@policecare.org.uk.