This week the Essex Police Commisioner, Nick Alston, has been writing about the increasing amount of duty days lost by Essex Police due to anxiety, depression or stress:
Since becoming Police and Crime Commissioner, I have been scrutinising all aspects of Essex Police performance. Early on, I identified sickness levels as a matter of concern.
The figures show that in 2009-10, for police officers, an average of 7.68 duty days per year was lost to sickness. By 2012-13, this had risen to 12.10 duty days, and stayed at a level of over 12 days per officer during 2013-14.
The impact of reported anxiety, depression and stress is also clear in the figures. In 2009-10, when there were more officers than now, 5,132 duty days were lost to anxiety, depression or stress. By 2012-13, this figure had doubled to 10,521. In 2013-14, the number of police officer duty days lost to anxiety, depression or stress was 11,238, or over 3 days per officer. This figure is worryingly high. Clearly, the root causes of this increase must be properly understood and managed, with officer welfare at the heart of everything that is done.
The most significant increase in duty days lost occurred in the run-up to and during the major Essex Police organisational restructure known as Blueprint, between 2011 and 2013. All organisations need to examine how they operate, to see if alternative models might be more effective and efficient. I do not criticise Essex Police for exploring the implementation of a “functional” policing model, with more centralised control and tasking of officers, PCSOs and staff. It is to the credit of Essex Police that the Blueprint model was kept under constant review by the then Chief Constable. Chief Constable Kavanagh has now made the decision to return the force to a model with more local supervision and control of policing resources at its heart….
Full statement here.