80% of police officers in Essex suffer from stress

Politics / Tue 7th Mar 2017 at 06:31am

EIGHT in 10 Essex Police officers have suffered stress, low mood, anxiety or other health and wellbeing issues over the past year, according to a survey by the Police Federation of England and Wales.

Of the 84% who said they had experienced these feelings, 95% believed they had been caused or made worse by work.

The PFEW Officer Demand, Capacity and Welfare Survey was carried out nationally against the backdrop of unprecedented budgetary cuts and a considerable fall in officer numbers across the country.

It includes 989 responses from Essex Police, a response rate of around 34%.

The force-specific results show that more than two thirds of officers think their workload is currently too high and fewer than one in 10 said there were enough officers on their team or unit to enable them to do their job properly.

Almost two thirds (64%) said they were “rarely” or “never” able to take their full rest break entitlement, while nearly half of respondents (44%) said they had not been able to take their full annual leave in the past year.

Around 43% had previously sought help for mental health and wellbeing issues from a GP, occupational health department, psychologist, therapist or counsellor.

However, there were officers who had chosen not to disclose this to their line managers due to fears of being treated differently, that other colleagues would find out or that it would negatively affect their opportunities for promotion or specialisation.

Views were mixed on whether the police service encourages staff to talk openly about mental health and wellbeing, with around 41% agreeing and 31% disagreeing. The rest were unsure.

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