Ministry of Defence Police receives National Wellbeing Award

The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) received a special award at the Oscar Kilo annual National Wellbeing Awards.

Ministry of Defence Police
4 min readAug 7, 2023

On Thursday 13 July 2023, the National Police Wellbeing Service, Oscar Kilo UK, held its annual National Wellbeing Awards.

The annual awards ceremony recognises the amazing work that has been done and continues to be done, across UK policing, to provide wellbeing support to officers and staff.

At this year’s ceremony, which was held at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the MDP were awarded a special Non-Home Office Force award. This was for the work that has been done to develop and deliver MDPfit, a bespoke occupational fitness, health, and wellbeing programme, to support officers and staff in the Force.

MDPfit was first launched by the MDP in 2021. This was in response to the Force introducing a new Physical Employment Standard (PES) to test the fitness of officers specifically carrying out the role of an Authorised Firearms Officer-Counter Terrorism (AFO-CT).

Around 90% of the Force are authorised firearms officers who must meet fitness standards set by the College of Policing for a Home Office AFO, in order for the Force to retain its firearms licence.

Given the implications and requirements being placed on officers to achieve these standards, the MDP initially adopted the Defence Occupational Fitness programme, known as DOfit, which although successful, highlighted the need for a supplementary, and bespoke programme which would support the specific needs of its officers.

MDPfit comprises of a five-day course providing participants with time away from their occupational duties to focus on their own fitness, health, and wellbeing. The course includes workshops which cover topics such as physical training solutions, training and healthy eating around work routines and shift work, injury prevention and wellbeing techniques.

MDPfit is a holistic programme which gives officers support over a 12-month period following the initial course, plus all officers and staff can access an online resource which provides physical training plans, exercise demonstrations, nutritional advice and much more.

MDP recruits now also receive an input on fitness and nutrition during their initial training. The aim of this is to better prepare them for the demands of shift work and the prevention of health conditions and musculoskeletal injury.

Ali Booker, Health and Wellbeing Advisor for the Force and MDPfit lead, collected the award on behalf of the force. She said:

“It was an enormous privilege to attend the award ceremony and receive this award for the Force. We are very proud to have been recognised for developing the MDPfit, and DOfit programme, which has so far benefitted over 200 officers. Our success is testament to the hard-working Fitness Instructor team, who balance this role as a secondary duty to support their colleagues’ fitness, health, and wellbeing.

“I wish to thank the Chief Officer Group for their ongoing support, which has enabled us to put in place the foundations for developing long-term and enduring fitness, health, and wellbeing support for officers and staff in the MDP.

“I look forward to continuing to collaborate with colleagues around the Force to improve our wellbeing provision – through policy review, research, and development of new initiatives.

“Investing in our staff and officers’ wellbeing will improve operational outputs, but most importantly – it’s just the right thing to do.”

Ali Booker (centre), holding a framed certificate, standing in a line with three men, posing for a photograph at the Oscar Kilo National Wellbeing Awards ceremony
Ali receiving the award at the Oscar Kilo National Wellbeing Awards ceremony

When announcing the award, Andy Rhodes, Service Director of Oscar Kilo UK, praised the MDP for its approach to meeting organisational and strategic goals using an officer-centred initiative, which the judges deemed worthy of this special award.

The portfolio lead for fitness in the MDP, Inspector John Bean, attended the award ceremony with Ali and said:

“A heartfelt thanks for all the work and dedication of the MDP Fitness Instructor team, who have been instrumental in the Force winning this award.

“Colleagues who have benefited from the MDPfit and the DOfit programme will agree that the ongoing support they receive from their instructors is a core component to their improved health and fitness.”

Inspector Ali Harfield, who was involved in the development work to set up MDPfit, also described the award as ‘a great achievement for the Force, recognising its contribution to officers’ health and wellbeing’ and that it was a ‘credit to the Fitness Instructors for all their hard work.’

Below, Inspector Harfield and Ali are with Chief Superintendent Matt Spiers who established and oversaw implementation of the new Physical Employment Standard for the MDP.

Inspector Harfield (left) standing holding a framed certificate with Ali Booker (right) and Chief Superintendent Spiers (centre) at MDP Headquarters, there are railings and a building in the background

Chief Superintendent Spiers said:

“The MDP welcomes the acknowledgement of a successful, proactive initiative and the dedication of MDP officers and staff through this award.

The work to introduce the new standard, has been assessed by an independent reviewer and will also be recognised as best practice by way of publication in scientific journals.”

More information

You can find out more about the Oscar Kilo awards by visiting their website.

Details of the MDPfit and DOfit programme can be found on the Force intranet.