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Police Scotland lose 53,000 days 'due to stress'

Credit: PA

Figures obtained by Scottish Labour suggest Police officers have lost 53,000 working days due to stress in the past 2 years in Scotland.

Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray used a Freedom of Information Request to obtain the figures, after a former Police Officer raised concerns about the issue.

The figures show that 10,000 days were taken off due to stress-related conditions between January and March this year.

Elaine Murray is calling on the Scottish Government to take action:

If it isn't working properly 2 years in, we need to have a look at it, and there is a body of opinion now which is saying things are not working as well as they should be, the culture within Police Scotland is not as it should be, there are also significant budget cuts, more to come, there have been serious budget cuts and there is more to come which I know officers are worried about. The government needs to take responsibility for its legislation and needs to look at this.

– Elaine Murray MSP

Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said:

During the first two years of Police Scotland, the total number of days lost through stress-related absence have fallen year on year by more than 17,000. Police Scotland, which has almost 23,000 people who work for the service and in common with any other large organisation, recognises that stress can be a factor in absence rates amongst personnel.

We work hard to ensure that having come through the most significant public sector reform of recent generations, absence and the causes of it are closely monitored and managed to ensure attendance at work is maintained and the level of service to communities is not adversely affected. All of our staff and officers have access to a wide range of support, guidance and welfare services.

We have recently carried out a major staff survey and will continue to work with our personnel at all levels to address issues which arise from it following careful analysis of the results.

– Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick

A Scottish Government spokesperson said:

The Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland take the welfare and wellbeing of their officers and staff seriously and provide a range of support service to help officers and staff in what can be a stressful job.

The recording and management of sickness absence for police officers and staff is a matter for the SPA and Police Scotland. Sickness absence is reported to the SPA Board regularly, with papers published on the SPA website.

It is not appropriate to prejudge the results of the on-going, live PIRC investigation or the HMICS review. It is very important both independent enquiries are now allowed to conclude so that all the facts are established and any issues can be clearly identified and promptly remedied.

– Scottish Government


Local politicians welcome raids

Two local politicians have welcomed an operation on the alleged exploitation of foreign workers employed in the fishing industry.

The exercise was carried out across the region this morning by police and various other UK agencies.

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown and Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray, both Labour, say that iIllegal cockle fishing in the region has been a major problem with gangs often using foreign workers to obtain the cockles.