Stressed officers costing force £4m

Lancashire Constabulary
Lancashire Constabulary
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Lancashire Police has seen more than 419 members of staff off sick with stress in the last three years.

Under a Freedom of Information request submitted by The Gazette, the cost to the force of stress related illness reached nearly £4m between 2010 and 2013.

The Western division of Lancashire police, which covers Blackpool, has seen 57 police officers and police staff off work with stress since 2010. This has cost the force £425,553.79.

The only other division of Lancashire police that has had more staff off with stress related illness is Headquarters which looks after the forces centralised resources such as human resouces, police dogs, police horses, press office, and crime scene investigation. They clocked up 116 days lost to stress related illness.

In 2010/2011 Western division spent £119,565 on stress related absence, compared with £135,654 in 2011/2012 and £170,333 in 2012/2013.

Female officers off with stress were off for an average of 79 days while male officers were off for an average of 46 days. Female police staff have been off for an average of 55 days for stress related illness, while male police staff have been off for 46 days.

Over the last three years the cost of stress related absence has fallen.

In total, in 2010/2011 the cost of stress related absence totalled £1,262,485, in 2011-2012 reached £1,246,419 and in 2012/2013 it reached £974,945.63.

The force said it supports staff absent due to stress, by employing two full time Welfare Advisers and a network of external counsellors. The Constabulary also utilises a Psychologist with a specialism in dealing with trauma.

In addition to this, the force assists staff back into work with phased returns and alternative temporary duties.

Ashley Judd, Head of Human Resources said, “The Constabulary and its managers put considerable effort into keeping officers and staff at work and when sickness absence is necessary, there is encouragement and support to enable a return to work at the earliest opportunity.

“Also, the force utilises welfare professionals to support officers and staff both proactively and reactively and this is received positively by those people who use it.”

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