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Wiltshire Police Federation

Mental health-related absences soar to record highs

10 October 2022

Polfed News

Record numbers of police officers are being signed off work suffering from mental health conditions.

Figures show 13,263 were absent due to stress, depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder in the past financial year, compared with 8,450 the year before.

Reacting to the 57 per cent increase, Police Federation of England and Wales Wellbeing Lead Sue Honeywill responded: “One in five officers have PTSD, and an overwhelming majority have experienced a traumatic incident at some point during their career which undoubtedly has a significant impact on their mental health.

“Policing is under the spotlight with demand increasing exponentially and more expected from less, piling extra pressure onto our officers who are already struggling. After a decade of public sector cuts, police officers are picking up the workloads of other services, so we need to start having real conversations about priorities and what is expected of our burnt-out officers.

“Police officers are not robots; they are husbands and wives, sons and daughters who take their work home with them and are often not able to fully switch off on their rest days because of the trauma they witness and the type of work they undertake.

“Within policing, the duty of care for our officers sits firmly with chief constables. Within their remit, they must prioritise occupational health and human resources. Without our officers, there is no police service.

“It is imperative police forces become more proactive with their support, stepping in and taking preventative measures to help officers who are facing difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing before they reach breaking point.”