Police must improve health and safety

SUFFOLK police have been forced to draft a detailed health and safety plan after being told to improve procedures in two areas.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the force in November as part of a new scheme to regularly inspect the region's constabularies.

SUFFOLK police have been forced to draft a detailed health and safety plan after being told to improve procedures in two areas.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the force in November as part of a new scheme to regularly inspect the region's constabularies.

Inspectors discovered the force had not sufficiently analysed computer workstations and did not have adequate procedures to ensure staff received basic health and safety training.

Improvement notices were served on the chief constable in January and a health and safety plan has now been drafted and was due to be discussed at a meeting of the Police Authority's human resources and staff liaison committee today.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “The health and safety of our staff is a priority within the constabulary and we take the matter extremely seriously.

“This is the first inspection by the Health and Safety Executive that we have been subject to and, on the whole, the report was extremely positive.

Most Read

“However, it is important to us that any issues are identified and raised as they have been in this case.

“We are now working with the HSE to address these issues.”

Representatives from the force met with the HSE in January to discuss what could be done to address the issues.

They recognised that in areas where risks to health and safety were considered to be high-level, practises were satisfactory but said low-level risks, particularly the prolonged use of poorly equipped work stations, were not always understood.

A report by Chief Constable Alistair McWhirter said that resources in the health and safety section were insufficient to meet the task.

He said that assistance would be provided either through the creation of an additional post or the use of existing resources from elsewhere.

The Police Authority has also agreed to provide £200,000 from reserves to fund the work needed to address the issues raised.

The improvements need to be implemented by September 2006 and the force has identified long-term improvements in health and safety.

These include consideration of stress management, noise surveys and a record of the immunisation status of officers and staff.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter