HUMBERSIDE Police has lost more than 6,000 hours of officer time as a result of stress and mental health issues in the past year.
10 MARCH 2016 | BY LUCY LEESON FOR HULL DAILY MAIL
The figures, obtained from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Mail show the force lost 19,778 hours of officer time because of sickness, with PCSOs accumulating 2,832 hours of sick time, in the 12 months to January.
Of the 19,778 hours, 6,447 were due to psychological disorders.
Almost 700 hours lost by PCSOs were due to psychological disorders.
Humberside Police deputy chief constable Garry Forsyth says the force ensures it has services available to help staff struggling with their mental health.
He said: “Our police officers and PCSOs spend the majority of their time helping the public, often in challenging circumstances or coping with high levels of demand.
“Coupled with busy lifestyles outside work, there are times when they may need a bit of extra help and support.
“Part of my role is to make sure there are services available to provide such support and I take this obligation seriously.
“As part of the force Well Together programme, we offer all our officers and staff access to a wide range of services, including the Employee Assist programme, which provides free 24 hour a day access to counselling and other support, 365 days a year.”
The FOI figures received by the Mail also show 209 referrals were made to occupational health for basic counselling in 2015.
Five frontline staff also left the force in 2015 due to mental health related conditions.
Humberside Police currently offers a trauma and risk management programme to help and support staff who have been involved in “critical” incidents, as well as a welfare and benevolent fund to help those experiencing financial and emotional difficulties.
Mr Forsyth said: “Force employees are also able to access a number of other services to boost their health and wellbeing, from bereavement counselling and help with the care of children and elderly relatives, to advice and information around healthy eating and fitness.”
Union leaders blame cuts
UNION leaders have previously blamed government cuts for increasing rates of depression among Humberside Police staff.
Tony Green, secretary at Humberside Police Unison branch, which represents civilian staff members, said: “As a result of the Government’s savage cuts to policing, the force has been left with fewer and fewer staff who are having to take more work on.
“The work is there to be done, but there is not enough people to do it.”
Paul Yeomans, chairman at Humberside Police Federation, which represents officers, said having fewer police officers and staff than before is increasing the workload and demand on officers.