BBC 5 Live ‘Investigates’ broadcast an hour long programme yesterday (3rd December) focussing on the psychological pressures on front line officers and the factors that may be contributing to rising absence figures attributable to stress, PTSD and other mental health issues.
Figures gathered from an FOI request submitted by the programme show that long term sick leave for mental health issues has gone up by 72% since 2010, at the same time as officer numbers have fallen by 16%
Reporter Adrian Goldberg spoke to officers from Sussex, The Met and Lancashire Constabulary along with Chief Constable Andy Rhodes and Che Donald from the Police Federation who built up a picture of rising demand and fewer resources as a contributing factor in the strain placed upon officers.
Chief Constable Rhodes acknowledged that although we are facing challenges around resources, the service needs to able to find a way to focus more on prevention but he recognises that this presents challenges in itself…
He said; “If we are relying on counselling then we are already at crisis point, we need to focus on prevention before people escalate into crisis. We have to do that by finding a way to create the right culture and have good leadership to prevent that escalation.
“When you see the results from the surveys done by Police Federation, MIND Blue light and Superintendents Association which are all saying the same thing – that our people are under an enormous amount of pressure – it’s not ideal to be talking about prevention when we are struggling to deal with the pressure at the crisis end of the job, we need to get ahead of the curve and look at ways we can do this.”
Listen to the programme here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09h3pz9
BBC 5 Live – In Short – Lancashire Constabulary officer Cora Lee talks about how she took 6 weeks off work due to stress built up from the challenges she faces every day http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05py6k6
Police officers talk about their battle against PTSD (article) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42159974