South Yorkshire police officers off with stress is on the increase

South Yorkshire Police.'Police officer with helmet.
South Yorkshire Police.'Police officer with helmet.
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The number of South Yorkshire police officers off sick with stress, anxiety and depression is rising.

Last year, 155 officers took time off with mental health pressures – 95 for stress, 27 with depression and 33 for anxiety.

In 2011 a total of 135 officers took time off for the same reasons, and in 2010 the number stood at 115.

There has also been a rise in the number of civilian members of staff taking time off work - with 196 calling in sick with stress, depression and anxiety in 2012, up from 183 in 2010.

The Police Federation claimed the pressure of increased workloads, in the face of budget cuts, was taking its toll.

Police Federation chairman Steve Williams said: “Certainly it is very worrying.

“While the service is not at breaking point officers are really feeling the pinch, and the figures reveal the seriousness of what is happening on the ground. We need to take stock of that.

“They are being pushed from pillar to post. The public has the right to expect a quality service, but officers are being over-stretched.

“It’s a sad indictment and reflection on the current situation in policing in this country. The cuts are having an effect.”

South Yorkshire branch secretary Jim Lucas said: “Nationally, sickness has risen in the police service, locally that is the same.

“I’m sure many other parts of the public service are feeling the same effect. When pay and conditions are attacked, and numbers of officers reduced, the knock-on is that officers have greater workloads and pressure to deal with.

“The demand does not decrease when officer numbers decline.

“We have seen many negative reports on police officers. The vast majority turn up to do a good day’s work for a day’s pay.

“Outside factors have a negative impact on them, and that impact could in many cases be officers’ health and wellbeing.

“The consequences of aggressive cuts to terms and conditions and vastly reduced numbers have yet to be realised in full - you can only take so much before it breaks. It is of no surprise to me that we are seeing this increase.”

The national deputy secretary of the Police Superintendents’ Association, Tim Jackson, added: “I think we’re going to see people burning out more. I think we will see, potentially, mistakes being made.”