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Pregnancy loss and the workplace – West Mercia Police

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What prompted your organisation to sign the Pregnancy Loss Pledge?

In recognition of internal feedback and in support of our strategic objectives of being an inclusive, compassionate employer, West Mercia Police recognised Baby Loss Awareness Week for the first time in 2023. As part of this, we have implemented several ongoing initiatives to support those who have experienced baby loss, in any form, including partners, as we acknowledge the devastating impact this can have.

How did you go about this?

Initially, we recognised Baby Loss Awareness Week by offering anyone affected an opportunity to plant white, pink, or blue spring bulbs within a designated garden area at our Worcester HQ and Telford sites. We held a wave of light ceremony within our memorial chapel, and we enabled candles to be lit throughout the week, as a mark of reflection. Over 60 candles were lit inside our memorial chapel at Hindlip, our Worcester HQ.

Following on from this, we have collaborated with Charlotte Speak from Power of the Parent©, an expert in all things work and family related, to deliver several workshops to our line managers on the topic of baby loss, with the intention of developing understanding and awareness and to break down barriers and misconceptions. This was really well received and enabled managers to have a better understanding of the topic and to be able to support their staff and colleagues going through this experience more effectively.

In May, we will run a cohort of training specifically aimed at our “He for She” allies, with the intention of challenging taboos and misconceptions, breaking down stereotypes and providing education. We believe we are the first Police Force to offer this.

We have launched an enhanced stand alone pregnancy loss policy, which offers support and guidance to those directly affected and their partner, as we recognise both the physical and emotional impact a loss can have. As part of this, we have included an opportunity to choose a phased return to work, if required, as well as a return-to-work discussion template, to facilitate an effective return to work following absence due to pregnancy loss.

And finally, several individuals with lived experience have trained to become peer supporters, offering a point of contact for anyone affected.

What was the end result?

We developed an enhanced level of awareness of pregnancy and baby loss, which fed into improved support and guidance for those affected within the force. The force also implemented more education around the impact of pregnancy loss, to help break down stereotypes and remove taboos. This brought about more open discussions within our workplace.

These elements of our work brought about better line management, and better relationships between colleagues as a result.

We’re proud to have brought in a stand-alone pregnancy loss policy, which was developed with employee feedback taken into consideration, as well as supporting our key objectives.

Kate Merchant, People and OD Business Partner, and Chair of the Families Working Group said, “We recognise the devastating impact baby loss can have, both to the individual directly affected, as well as partners, both physically and emotionally.

“We want to support those who protect and serve their communities, in many ways, when they are experiencing a difficult time, and we hope the ongoing work on pregnancy loss will also enable us to fulfil our strategic objectives of being an inclusive and compassionate employer.”


Join West Mercia Police in signing the Pregnancy Loss Pledge by clicking here.