Long hours blamed for police stress

MORE than 70 police officers had time off work in 2007/8 because of stress with long hours and shift patterns blamed.

MORE than 70 police officers had time off work in 2007/8 because of stress with long hours and shift patterns blamed.

Figures obtained from Suffolk police show that 72 officers off with stress took time off with stress.

The highest number of officers off with stress in the past five years came during the year that Steve Wright murdered five women working as prostitutes in Ipswich and the Suffolk Police Federation - which represents police officers - said they thought the two were linked.

Angela Mercer, secretary of Suffolk Police Federation, said she was not surprised by the figures.


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“It is another example that the role of police officer is a stressful and often dangerous job and working long hours and various shift patterns could have a detrimental effect on police officer's health and family life.

“It appears to be individual cases and does not appear to be a single department suffering more.”

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She added that “it appears there has been an increase in the year that officers were involved with the Steve Wright case”.

A special stress study by Suffolk Constabulary recently revealed that police officers believed they did not have enough time to do a good job.

The survey found that unreasonable workloads and deadlines were responsible for causing high levels of stress among sergeants and inspectors while chief inspectors and higher ranked officers felt excessive overtime and having to take work home were putting them under extreme pressure.

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “We have a duty of care for our police officers and staff and any sign of increased stress is taken extremely seriously. Police work can be challenging and, through our occupational health unit, facilities and measures are in place to support officers and staff who have stress related symptoms and/or illnesses.”

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