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Home Breaking Officers from Kent Police and staff across the county will benefit from a well-being and trauma support dog

Officers from Kent Police and staff across the county will benefit from a well-being and trauma support dog


A special new recruit has been welcomed into police stations across the county to help support the mental health of officers and staff.

Honey is Kent Police’s first wellbeing and trauma support dog, and she will provide a calming presence in the aftermath of potentially traumatic events. She is not a police dog, but instead belongs to a community policing volunteer and was provided by the national Oscar Kilo 9 network, which aims to introduce wellbeing dogs across the country.

Honey, a springer spaniel, can be arranged for specific teams or individuals, such as front-line officers dealing with traumatic events or 999 call handlers who may receive distressing or upsetting calls. Her role will be to provide a few minutes of relief to those in need throughout the workplace, and she has already visited police stations in Canterbury, Ashford, and Maidstone with her handler.

‘Policing is a challenging and demanding job that can frequently lead to stressful, upsetting, and sometimes disturbing situations,’ said PC Martyn Tulk, who leads the Community Policing Volunteer Canine team. A growing number of police departments recognise the value of dogs in assisting officers and staff in coping with the daily stresses of work and in supporting their overall well-being.

‘When a dog is brought into the workplace, the interactions can provide much-needed light relief. We hope Honey’s presence will make it easier for our officers and staff to engage and speak about issues and events that have been bothering them or may have been affecting their mental health and wellbeing.’

The OK9 network currently has over 100 accredited wellbeing and trauma support dogs, as well as representation from several police forces and fire and rescue services. Their handlers are also trained to provide mental health first aid and to speak openly about their own experiences. They are in an ideal position to listen, facilitate difficult conversations, and provide referrals to appropriate resources.

In addition to the dedicated wellbeing trauma and support dog, Kent Police employs other volunteer therapy dogs to assist with a variety of issues, including mental health, vulnerable people, and child-centered policing.

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