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Hundreds of officers signed off work through stress

imageA total of 329 officers were signed off through stress, depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder in the last financial year at West Yorkshire Police.

Of these, 275 were police constables, 42 were sergeants and 12 were inspectors.

Ned Liddemore, Vice-Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “The amount of work put on our officers is increasing and they have to be more accountable for everything that they do.

“Less officers with the same amount of work equals more work for each officer, equals more pressure, which brings more stress.

“We are acutely aware of this, and we are acutely aware of how many officers are suffering with stress, anxiety, depression and PTSD. We are working extremely hard behind the scenes with HR and Occupational Health to bring measures into place to combat these issues. This will take time, but rest assured we are on it.”

Nationally, one in 20 police officers took time off sick in the last financial year – that is 6,278 police officers. This is up from the previous year, when 5,460 officers were signed off.

A Freedom of Information request asked forces how many officers took sick leave for depression, anxiety, stress or post-traumatic stress disorder in the financial year ending March 2015. In 23 forces there was an increase in the number of officers signed off.

Emergency workers are far more likely to suffer from mental illness than those in other professions, according to the mental health charity Mind, and they are even less likely to get support.

Resourcing is to blame for the increasing number of stress-related sick days, according to the Police Federation of England and Wales. John Murphy, of the Federation’s Health and Safety Sub Committee, said the job has changed. He said: “There are fewer officers doing all the same work, and it is not all about crime.

“It is dealing with sudden deaths, negotiating with people in crisis, welfare checks and so on.

If you need confidential advice or support on any of these issues, call Mind’s Blue Light Infoline on 0300 303 5999.

(Picture posed by model)

Date posted: July 23, 2015

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