Nearly 10,000 officers, equivalent to one in 12, took time off sick with stress or anxiety over the past year, according to figures released this summer.
A hundred officers from constable rank to superintendent in Bedfordshire have taken a course, which includes a day staying silent.
Among the officers who had taken the course was Sergeant Karen Jarman, who was off work for seven months with post-traumatic stress disorder after she was beaten unconscious during a routine drugs search. She said it had enabled her to overcome severe anxiety and get back to work. She now uses the techniques when deployed, which last week included being first on the scene of a murder.
“You are getting into high-stress situations and as a supervisor you need to be calm,” she said. “We were driving under blue lights but I was talking to myself and concentrating on my breath and making it slower.”
Another sergeant, who asked not to be named, said: “I encounter difficulties when attending incidents with weapons, due to being the victim of a nasty stabbing. “I have received a lot of support and assistance to build coping strategies, none quite as effective as the three-part breathing technique which forms part of Mindfit Training.
“When a job comes in where a person is armed with a knife and I am the closest unit to attend, I would always feel this is a difficult situation.
“The breathing technique gives me strength in those moments.”