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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 121673 Find in a Library
Title: Coming to Terms With Disasters
Journal: Police  Volume:21  Issue:10  Dated:(June-July 1989)  Pages:16,18
Author(s): D A Ray
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 2
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Following the December 1988 Clapham rail accident in Great Britain, police officials found that officers involved not only in the initial activity following the crash, but also those who dealt with the bereaved families and performed other off-scene duties, suffered from some measure of post-trauma shock.
Abstract: Often, young and inexperienced officers are the first to arrive on the scene of a disaster; even more seasoned police require the debriefing and counseling sessions offered by the Force Welfare Department. Each police force should be able to provide in-house professional welfare facilities. During a disaster, care should be taken if possible to relieve and rotate staff serving at the scene and mortuaries. In the Clapham case, morale among officers remained high because the rescue effort was generally perceived as successful, and the officers received public support and appreciation. Particular attention was paid to providing family support; dedicated police officers were assigned to each victim for the first two days to obtain formal identification and assist the relatives. For the next six weeks, two teams of officers provided a consistent, professional, and personal police response to each bereaved family, including follow-up visits and restoration of property and personal effects. Individual profile folders on each victim enabled instant and up-to-date responses to the volume of inquiries received in the months following the accident. The dedicated officers also used the folders to gain an intimate knowledge of their cases and to interact with the local police liaison officers in arranging funerals, assisting with traffic, and dealing with the press. These officers also accompanied relatives to the inquests, which were held individually; Social Services were also present to provide family support. The police made every attempt to provide welfare facilities for their own staff and deal with the dead and bereaved in a dignified and compassionate manner.
Main Term(s): Police emergency procedures
Index Term(s): Family support; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Welfare services
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