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Police lose 200,000 working days to mental ill health

Reasons for absence included anxiety, depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress.

Absence: Reasons included anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Absence: Reasons included anxiety, depression and insomnia. PA

More than 200,000 police working days have been lost to mental ill health in the last four years.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have called for all police staff to be surveyed for their views on the support available.

A freedom of information request by the party found that police officers have been off work for a total of 201,936 days since 2015 due to mental illness.

Reasons for absence included anxiety, depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress.

Police Scotland said the health and well-being of officers and staff is of "the utmost importance".

Jude Helliker, director of people and development with Police Scotland, said: "We have implemented a number of well-being services for our people, giving them the opportunity to access a wide range of support including counselling and trauma interventions, at the earliest possible opportunity."

'Officers and staff do an excellent job keeping the public safe but the force is under severe strain.'
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: "Being on the front line of policing is a rewarding but at times harrowing job.

"These figures reveal the heavy toll that mental ill health is having on those that do this critical work as well as across the police service as a whole.

"Officers and staff do an excellent job keeping the public safe but the force is under severe strain.

"It was shocking when the last staff survey, conducted in 2015, found that just 8% of officers and staff believed the service was genuinely interested in their well-being.

"We need to learn whether this has changed, so I urge Police Scotland and the SPA to start 2019 off right by conducting a long-overdue survey of officers and staff."

A spokesman for the Scottish Police Authority added: "The health and wellbeing of our workforce is an important priority for the Scottish Police Authority and we work closely with Police Scotland to ensure that there is a range of support measures and options available to officers and staff to meet their needs."

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