Police officers in Norfolk becoming “severely affected” by stress of the job
- Credit: Ian Burt
Police officers in Norfolk are becoming 'severely affected' by the stress of the job, according to the Police Federation.
The organisation said front-line officers were experiencing increased workloads and suffering from poor psychological wellbeing.
More than 360 Norfolk officers took part in a survey carried out by the federation last year.
It found that two-thirds of officers who responded thought their workload was too high.
Meanwhile, 90pc 'disagreed' or 'strongly disagreed' that there were enough officers to manage the demands made on their teams.
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The federation said the increased pressures were the result of Government reforms on the police force.
Its survey also found:
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• Officers have to go without their full rest breaks on a regular basis.
• 80pc of officers reported being single crewed 'often or always' over the past 12 months - compared to the national figure of 73pc.
• Most officers have had two or more days off cancelled in the past 12 months.
• Some reported not being able to take their full annual leave entitlement.
• 81pc said they had experienced stress, low mood, or other difficulties with mental health. Almost all indicated their feelings were caused by work.
The federation said the increased police precept - of just under 2pc - will help to recruit more officers in Norfolk.
Meanwhile, deputy chief constable for Norfolk Police, Nick Dean, said the force had recently opened up its recruitment lines.
Andy Symonds, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, said: 'Officers are increasingly expected to deal with all manner of things that many other people would walk away from and other public services should be dealing with.
'Officers are extremely busy throughout their shifts and are working regular overtime, and so it is fundamentally important that officers need to feel that they can speak out when they need help and they can have confidence that the service will treat them with the utmost dignity and discretion to help get them back on track.
'Our officers are relieved that with the precept on policing being raised again, it will go some way to relieve the stress and pressure of current staff by allowing the Force to recruit more front line officers, which in turn will hopefully decrease stress and lower sickness rates.'
What Norfolk Police had to say
Deputy Chief Constable Nick Dean, said: 'In August 2015 we launched the Norfolk 2020 Review of Policing and as part of the process we spoke to over 1000 members of the organisation. During the course of these engagement events, concerns about officer numbers and welfare were raised. In response we have recently launched a new Occupational Health strategy and we have opened up our recruitment lines, resulting in 360 new applications to become police officers.
'Norfolk is a top performing force, as recognised in consecutive HMIC inspections, and this is down to the dedication and hard work of its officers and staff.
'We aim to consistently deliver a high quality service with officers responding to a wide variety of incidents on a daily basis, reflected in the changing and challenging nature of crime. As part our approach to meeting this challenge the force has recently announced investment in technology including body-worn video cameras, meaning officers will have access to equipment to help them carry out their duties more efficiently and safely.
'We're also open to honest conversations and staff are encouraged to offer feedback through a range of channels on improvements which could assist them in their roles.'