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Background There is a growing body of evidence that links employee well-being to organizational performance. Although police forces are under increasing pressure to improve efficiency and productivity, the evaluation of well-being in law enforcement is mostly restricted to self-report stress questionnaires that are based on questionable construction methodologies. No instrument to specifically determine the well-being of police force employees currently exists.Aims To construct an instrument that measures the work-related well-being of officers and staff within a police force.Methods The approach is drawn from well-established clinical models used to evaluate the well-being of patients. Potential variables were confirmed using an item selection method known as impact analysis that places keen emphasis on frequency and importance as perceived by the respondents themselves.Results Analyses of 822 completed response sets showed that nine separate dimensions of police work can adversely affect well-being (advancement, facilities, home work interface, job, physical health, psychological health, relationships, organizational and workload). Overall, officers showed inferior well-being compared with their colleagues. Content validity and adequate internal reliability were confirmed.Conclusions This study considered a new robust approach to evaluating the well-being of all those working in law enforcement. The nine dimensions extended beyond conventional stress measures and may offer a practical alternative way of assessing the overall well-being status of an entire force using a systematic item selection framework.