26 June 2020
The first national police wellbeing survey has revealed that almost half of the 35,000 officers who responded were getting less than six hours sleep a night.
The survey was carried out by Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service, and the College of Policing.
Those high levels of fatigue will now be addressed as the two bodies begin research, along with experts from around the world, practitioners and UK staff associations, to come up with solutions to improve officers’ wellbeing.
“This survey makes interesting reading and I look forward to seeing what conclusions the further research will come up with further down the line,” said the chair of Derbyshire Police Federation, Tony Wetton.
“Policing is a very demanding role and one which often requires officers to make very quick, often instinctive, decisions on a variety of issues and in challenging circumstances. We all know only too well the potential consequences in terms of the health and safety of officers and members of the public, and the potential impact on the officer’s career, when that decision making process goes wrong.
“As we all know, our ability to make the right decision can be impeded if we are feeling tired so it is important that we do anything we can to try to reduce levels of fatigue across the Force.
“The survey supports what we have been saying as a Federation for a long time that those people who work on shifts are more likely to experience poor quality of sleep.
“There are long-term issues to consider here too because long-term fatigue can have a detrimental effect on mental health and physical wellbeing so it is important that we find some answers.
The wellbeing survey also found that police officers working in safeguarding and investigations reported lower levels of wellbeing, while police staff reported lower levels of wellbeing in areas such as custody, contact management and incident management.
There were, however, many positive findings from the survey too:
Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) wellbeing lead and service director for Oscar Kilo, said: “Looking at the results, we see some areas of progress, and other issues which strengthen our resolve to keep doing more.
“It’s clear that many people feel valued by their peers and supervisors - but less so by the organisation and the public – a gap we see in every survey that is directly linked to trust. Fatigue also leaps off the page, and this has a lot to do with our cultural acceptance in relation to things like disrupted sleep and all the risks it can bring to our health and operational decision-making.”
Chief Constable Mike Cunningham, CEO of the College of Policing, said the survey would provide a baseline which Oscar Kilo would use to measure progress and help prioritise work nationally and within individual forces.
Read the full survey results on the Oscar Kilo website.