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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

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MSP's debate Scotland's 'under resourced' fisheries

Fishermen in Scottish waters are struggling Credit: PA

MSPs are debating what steps can be taken to protect and improve Scotland's inshore fisheries.

In communities like Eyemouth in the borders, it's a key industry, and fishermen there are struggling because of low stocks.

The Scottish Government says it's committed to developing the sector, but Fishermen's leaders say the groups set up to manage inshore waters are under resourced, compared to those in England.

Fight to overturn docking ban taken to Holyrood

A gamekeeper from the Scottish Borders has taken his fight to overturn a ban on removing working dogs tails to the Scottish Parliament.

Alex Hogg from Eddleston near Peebles wants the same tail docking rules to apply in Scotland as in England.

Currently the surgical removal of puppies tails is banned for working dogs north of the border.

Animal welfare charities say the procedure is cruel and want the ban to remain. Jenny Longden sent this report:

Tail docking is "for the welfare of these dogs"

A Scottish Borders gamekeeper is leading a campaign to overturn a ban on docking working dogs tails.

Alex Hogg, Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, says he now buys his dogs from England to get round the ban, which could lead to good working dog lines being lost in Scotland.

"It's for the welfare of these dogs because when they break their tail, and their tail becomes broken you are looking at amputation. Once you have got to amputate a dog's tail it's like cutting a limb off. It takes months and months to mend, months and months of recuperation and months and months of agony. It is a long term welfare issue."

– Alex Hogg, Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association

He says docking a dog's tail as a puppy is much less painful than dealing with a broken tail as an adult dog.

"We have now got lots of rural vets that are coming on board and saying this and I think it will help hugely. They are seeing damage now from these adult dogs and they are saying themselves that look, surely to give a tiny bit of pain when the puppy is only under three days, the tail is like a piece of rubber, it's just nipped off and that is it. But once you get to an adult dog and it's into full amputation, it is horrendous trying to get it mended."

– Alex Hogg, Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association
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