Greater Manchester Police undertaking Connect 5 training

Leo Casey, the Greater Manchester Police Safeguarding Adults and Young People Lead talks about why they’re doing the Connect 5 Train the Trainer training

As part of Leo’s role he’s there to support anyone around safeguarding issues and officer welfare generally. Leo and Ember had a fantastic discussion in April about some of the work Greater Manchester Police do and how Connect 5 fits in.

When are you going to be doing your Connect 5 / Train the Trainer training?

We’re due to complete our training in the next two or three weeks. Myself and 6 or 7 people in the Cadet Central team plus 2 or 3 people in HR. We also plan to have another cohort of cadet leaders trained in the summer.

Tell me a little about your organisation and your plans to use Connect 5?

The Police cadet schemes started nationally 8 or 9 years ago. They were launched without much ongoing support for people. In Greater Manchester this year, we will have around 300 police cadets on the scheme, aged 13-18, with around 60 – 80 volunteer leaders. We’ve recently being doing a thorough review. We’ve found that leaders/volunteers might not have all the skills they need to support our cadets. One of the key areas is mental health. Leaders need to have the confidence to talk to cadets and volunteers about their mental health to support them well. Connect 5 came along perfectly for us, enabling our team to have the confidence to have those mental health conversations but also when, where and how to get further support.

What other health and wellbeing work or training do you engage with, that might be complementary to Connect 5?

We’re considering several things for the whole force, Mental Health First aid and ACE’s training. I’d also like to look at implementing Teams, Turmoil and Transition training that I did myself some years ago.

What’s the best thing that you personally like about Connect 5 and health and wellbeing improvement generally?

Seeing the impact that it’s had on previous staff. 3 or 4 of my previous team in youth work management who were new youth workers completed Connect 5 and said it was so useful to gain confidence around mental health conversations. They loved it.

It’s important to give our current cadet volunteer leaders something similar. Young people need support for their wellbeing now more than ever. It’s harder now with things like social media that can affect young people. As well as this, coming out of the pandemic, young people have lost a year out their life.

Young people focused on being police officers can also have challenges around the pressure connected to this to achieve. We have a number of cadets as well who are recruited because they have been involved with criminality or come from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s very important then that we give our volunteers the appropriate training to support all these young people well around their mental health.