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Anxiety and depression fears for custody sergeants

imageFour in ten custody sergeants have suffered anxiety or depression as a result of their job, a survey has revealed.

And nearly 70 per cent say they want to leave the role – with a further half saying the custody sergeant job makes them want to quit policing.

The figures were revealed in a two-year survey of officers by the University of Nottingham which saw 1,677 officers from around the country quizzed on their role over a two-year period.

45 per cent of custody officers said they wanted to leave the police service altogether, while 26 per cent said they wanted to leave custody but remain as an officer.

Respondents told the survey that their wellbeing was affected by understaffing, the intense pace of work, inadequate facilities for breaks, irregular breaks and the high pressure of the job.

They also said senior managers were unable or unwilling to understand the pressures of their work.

60 per cent of the respondents said they had experienced “burn out”, thanks to their job.

Andy Ward, the Police Federation’s joint custody lead, told the Fed’s Police magazine: “Custody has traditionally been a poor relation in terms of the police service.

“Other areas of policing, such as firearms, rightly, are the subject of significant and ongoing investment in terms of staff, equipment and training, but on a day-to-day basis, custody actually carries a higher risk for forces, our members and those that we come into contact with.

“Since the austerity cuts began, custody suites have been hit disproportionately across the country with the majority of forces reducing the number of qualified custody sergeants in their suites and rationalising the number of custody sites they operate.

“The drive to do more in custody with inappropriate resources is having a massive impact on the stress levels being experienced by custody sergeants.”

Date posted: June 5, 2014

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