I was deeply concerned by the BBC’s recent finding that cases of UK police officers and staff taking long-term sick leave for psychological reasons had risen by 35% over the last five years.
Despite the fact that police numbers have fallen, the number of days taken off has risen drastically. Currently there are 6,129 incidences of officers being put on sick leave for psychological reasons whereas 5 years ago the figure was just over 4,500. There was also reportedly a steady increase in overall long-term sick leave.
It is all very well the government saying that policing is “stressful”, but it is important that measures are taken to help those suffering from stress in all workplaces. We, in the Green Party, have long argued that local authorities should appoint a Mental Health Champion to advocate on behalf of residents.
Personally, I would also like to see large government organisations, such as the NHS or the Police Constabularies, offer a similar service for its employees in order to tackle this pressing issue and support the people doing vital and often traumatic public service jobs.