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21 May 2020
Surrey Police officers are being urged to take rest days and annual leave if they can to help them recuperate from the challenges of policing COVID-19.
Surrey Police Federation wants to ensure members have proper breaks from the frontline to protect their physical and mental health.
With everything that’s going on it’s never been so crucial for officers to look after themselves and each other, Federation Chair Mel Warnes said.
“I think officers aren’t taking annual leave because they feel that they can’t go on their usual holiday or to their favourite destination.
“It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week and that many of them have been and continue to work long hours on rest days to support your colleagues as well as the public, but officers need to focus on their own wellbeing and your own mental health,” she said.
“Rest days are a time to rest and recuperate and if you’re working those, then you can’t.”
Plans for foreign holidays and even UK based breaks away have had to be stuffed in the drawer for now, but relaxing at home with the family can be just as beneficial.
“I would say to officers, don’t feel that you can’t take time off if you need it. Just because you can’t go abroad or to your favourite UK holiday destination doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take some annual leave and use it to spend time at home with those closest to you,” Mel said.
You must think about yourself and take care - police officers, like all emergency service workers, are working some really long hours, covering, working on some of their rest days to ensure there’s enough staff working. It’s really important to take that time because you’re working so hard, just to recuperate and relax.”