1 March 2023
A huge rise in police officers taking time off work due to mental health issues highlights “the very real warning signs that policing is at risk of collapse”, Cumbria Police Federation has said.
New figures show that police officers in England took more than 730,000 sick days last year – up from 320,000 in 2012/13.
Cumbria Police Federation Chair Paul Williams said officers were struggling to cope with increasing pressure and demand, while coming under attack from the media and assaults on the streets.
He said: “These figures reflect the warning signs we have been sounding for some time now. Officers are feeling a huge strain in policing. The increasing bureaucracy and ever-more complex crimes are taking their toll, along with extra demand, beyond what we have ever seen before.
“Having just got over the hill of the pandemic, cops have not had a chance to breathe. There are now extra demands nationally, more calls for mutual aid, and an increase in crime, which places more demands and responsibility on a service where morale is already very low.”
He continued: “Our officers are coming under attack every day and the hard-working majority are becoming increasingly broken.
“Officers are overworked, underpaid, under-recognised for the good work they do, yet publicly flogged for the bad. It’s no surprise that there is a huge increase in sickness.
“The Federation can support our cops to an extent, we don’t want officers to suffer alone. What we can't do is wave a magic wand and fix the damage caused by years of austerity and budget cuts. The Government needs to recognise the problem and truly invest in addressing it.”