Brian Paddick reveals that over a million days of police time were lost to mental ill health

Even with the best of resources, the job of a police officer is highly stressful. They deal with the most difficult of human circumstances – and often the most dangerous, too.

You would hope that police forces would be mindful of this and would ensure that the mental health of officers was properly looked after. However, research carried out by the Liberal Democrats show that 1.4 million days of police time were lost in the last three years due to mental ill health of both officers and community support officers.

This is worrying both in terms of the impact on the individual officers and on the effectiveness of the force.

Lib Dem Peer Brian Paddick has called for the government to take action to boost the mental health of police officers:

The figures show that mental ill health is widespread among the police service. Frontline officers deal with relentless trauma over years. This issue hasn’t been adequately addressed so far and the government must look at how they address this.

There is a stigma that is deeply embedded in the culture of the police service and it is now time to break it.

Many officers both serving and retired who deal with mental ill health want to be diagnosed and treated more quickly.

Part of the problem is that mental health is not as adequately resourced as it should be throughout the NHS, meaning that it is very difficult for many people to get the treatment they need quickly.

ITV covered this and conducted a hard-hitting interview with an officer who suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He describes how the stigma within the force is as bad as the illness itself.

The information was found by the Liberal Democrats making freedom of information requests to many police forces across Britain. That’s an incredible amount of work for a small team of people, so well done to them for putting the effort in. It’s so good to see something that includes Scotland as well as England and Wales, too.

Force

Days lost officers

Days lost staff (includes PCSOs)

Total

PSNI

7,901

1,269

9,170

North Yorkshire

13,351

8,757

22,108

Transport Police

N/A

N/A

N/A

Northamptonshire

7,261

4,878

12,139

Hertfordshire

17,438

11,043

28,481

Derbyshire

25,037

15,974

41,011

Warwickshire

5,664

3,142

8,806

North Wales

18,958

10,255

29,213

Port of Dover

N/A

N/A

N/A

Cumbria

11,042

5,194

16,236

West Mercia

16,334.20

9,734.20

26,068.40

Northumbria

23,053

12,185

35,238

South Yorkshire

21,641.80

15,371.10

37,012.90

West Midlands

118,415

56,599

175,014

Gwent

27,623

17,926

45,549

Durham

11,760.37

4,929.24

16,690

Bedfordshire

11,998

6,737

18,735

Lincolnshire

20,969

Not provided

20,969

Greater Manchester

141097 (Provided data for ‘GMP’)

141097

Dyfed powys

Police Scotland

99,423

56,946

156,369

Merseyside

139,452

65,560

205,012

Devon & Cornwall

8,185.70

6,189.30

14,375.00

Cheshire

21,515

12,147

33,662

Kent

36,304.40

13,878.57

50,182.97

Humberside

15,387.70

9,554.80

24,943

Hampshire

38,837

21949

60,786

Sussex

19,758

12,217

31,975

Surrey

9,409

5,759

15,168

Gloucestershire

20,468.70

5,775.10

26,243.80

South Wales

19,438

18,279

37,717

Lancashire

27,700

19,668

47,368

Wiltshire

5,098

2,592

7,690

Cambridgeshire

9,125

7,829

16,954

Norfolk

872

649.70

1,521

Suffolk

198

322.00

520

Hampshire

30,388

14,381.10

44,769

 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Dec '16 - 10:24pm

    Very interesting and thought provoking , Caron.

    I know the military is not dissimilar , vulnerable to such levels of stress , obviously after posting in particularly dangerous zones.

    It would be interesting to know what level in the police is experienced by men, and what by women. From everything I have heard and read , it seems levels in our society , of mental ill health , are higher amongst male population than female .

    The police of course have many more men than women in the service although that is not as much so , as once , but whether men , typically , are prey to not communicating their issues and worries early , and do not have the channels to do so without feeling a loss of esteem , I do not know.

    Brian Paddick is a fine proponent of our cause.

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