All police officers and staff will undergo specialist trauma training to improve how they deal with distressed victims.

Ayrshire Police Division will soon become ‘Trauma Informed’ as part of a commitment to improve the response to people in distress.

Only 20 per cent of the incidents that Ayrshire Police Division deal with are crime related and an increasing amount relate to people in distress or crisis, or suffering from the impact of addiction, homelessness or trauma.

Ayrshire’s Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Paul Main, announced this week that Ayrshire Police Division will soon become a ‘Trauma Informed Division’ aiming to improve awareness, among all police officers and staff in the division, of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

ACEs are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect, witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who abuse alcohol or drugs.

Each ACE increases a child’s likelihood of being a victim of violence, committing violence or being incarcerated at any point in their lifetime.

The first stage of becoming ‘Trauma Informed’ will be to provide all 840 officers and staff time to watch the Resilience Documentary, which provides an overview of ACEs.

Over 50 officers and staff from Ayrshire Division have already seen the documentary as part of a roadshow last year.

Speaking on Tuesday, Chief Superintendent Main said, “Becoming a Trauma Informed Division will help officers and staff to have an increased understanding of those we engage with and allow us to look beyond people’s behaviours and actions.

“This will also improve our response to people in distress and provide the opportunity to make positive and sustainable differences to communities throughout Ayrshire. This includes our response to people in crisis or distress, suffering from poor mental health and other medical conditions, as well as how we engage with people in the criminal justice system.

“I would like to thank the many supporters, partners and colleagues in Ayrshire who are behind our ambitions. The advice and assistance from staff at the Violence Reduction Unit, Suzanne Zeedyk, John Carnochan and Tina Hendry has been particularly welcomed.

“The combined effort of 840 officers and staff from Ayrshire Police Division with improved knowledge, understanding and response will be considerable.”