Police stress levels soaring

A NEW report has revealed soaring numbers of Cleveland police officers are taking time off sick through stress and anxiety.

The report by Jacqui Cheer, Cleveland’s Temporary Chief Constable, shows the number of working days lost because of officers suffering from stress rose by more than 200 per cent in 2011/12.

In 2010/11 working days lost through stress stood at 894, but in 2011/12 it rocketed to 2,790.

The latest figures, which also show overall sickness absence jumped 50 per cent in just 12 months, will be discussed at a meeting of Cleveland Police Authority’s policy and resources panel today.

The number of officers at Cleveland Police is expected to fall from a high of 1,727 to around 1,450 while the force is having to cut £26m from its annual budget before 2015.

Mrs Cheer said: “That organisational change will continue for some time to come and will continue to have a direct impact on everyone in the force.”

In 2011/12 the average days lost per police officer in Cleveland was 9.16 compared to 6.02 in 2010/11.

Meanwhile, the average for police staff was 9.08 days lost in 2011-12 compared to 7.22 the year before.

Sickness absence among officers had fallen every year since 2005, but there was a sharp increase in 2011-12 and stress, depression and anxiety featured heavily as reasons for absence.

The Temporary Chief Constable added: “Absence management has been robustly managed throughout the force for many years and is scrutinised closely during service unit monthly performance reviews.

“This ensures that everything possible that needs to be done is being done to ensure cases are appropriately managed.”