Up to 70% more officers are taking more time off work due to work-related stress, anxiety and PTSD symptoms says Gloucestershire Police Federation Chairman Mike Harrison.
A recent FOI revealed that police officers taking sick leave for the aforementioned conditions has risen by almost 10% in the past year alone.
Across the UK, over 10,000 officers were signed off with stress, anxiety or PTSD, accounting for the near 70% increase compared to 2012/13 when there were 6,294 cases.
“For me, the issues are that police officer numbers are falling and the numbers of officers we have are having to do more with obviously less staff”, Mike said.
“An example of which, in Gloucestershire we’ve lost about 238 officers since 2010, so the staff left behind are having to do more.
“They’re spending more and more time responding to incidents. The incidents that we are dealing with are complex, really in-depth incidents, which do have an effect on peoples’ mental health and welfare.”
Despite the gloomy picture nationally, sick leave numbers in Gloucestershire actually fell from 88 to 78, with Mike attributing the success to the force’s focus on tackling mental health issues.
“The good thing is, within Gloucestershire as a whole, we’ve got a lot more improved services focused on wellbeing and officer welfare, more counselling services, more knowledge.
“We’re training more mental health first aiders who can identify symptoms and direct officers, signpost them to the right agencies to receive help at an earlier stage”, Mike added.