Stress endemic in Police Service

Stress has been known to affect those in high intensity workplaces, and the emergency services is the prime example of this. Numbers of police officers taking time off due to stress in Essex is climbing, according to the latest numbers released by the Essex Police Federation.

285 officers were signed off between March 2014 and March 2015 through some form of mental health problem, most notably stress, anxiety or depression. Post traumatic stress disorder was also seen in some officers.

In 2013/14, the year preceding these figures, 276 officers had taken time off work due to stress. In this year, 41,251 sick days were taken off in total, 11,238 of which were for stress or stress related illnesses.

Monty Montgomery, the secretary of the federation, said that the cause of the stress needs to be identified. We have an increase in the numbers of officers reporting sick with mental illness. We still have a lot of misunderstanding of the problems associated with mental illness.

“Until we find the cause for the sickness, we can only treat the symptoms.”

The Essex Police Federation, although employing 3,300 officers is only a part of the police force across the country. It is unlikely that the Essex officers are an anomaly, and from past reports we know that this is a wide ranging issue in the country’s emergency services.

More attention has been paid to stress management over recent years, but enough is obviously not being done if these numbers of essential key workers are taking time out for largely preventable and manageable issues.

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