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  1. ITV Report

Cambridge University study reveals PTSD in the police

The study found that 90% of police workers had been exposed to trauma. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Nearly one in five police officers and staff suffer with a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a landmark study carried out by Cambridge University suggests.

Experts have warned of a "clinical and public sector crisis" after a survey of nearly 17,000 serving officers and operational staff indicated rates of PTSD were nearly five times higher than the wider population.

Carried out by a team at the University of Cambridge, the research's early findings also suggest that two thirds of those suffering from the disorder were unaware they had the condition.

Campaigners have warned that the lack of a unified approach by forces has created a "postcode lottery" in support and called for a national policing mental health strategy to be established.

"For the first time in the UK we can see behind the cultural trope of the burnt-out copper who has seen too much. This is a clinical and public sector crisis...Dealing with disturbing experiences is a defining part of policing, but employees have a right to expect resources to protect them from the impact of daily trauma exposure. Without such resources in place, the cost to policing and public safety will just mount up."

– Dr Jess Miller, Sociologist and led the research
90%
Of police workers have been exposed to trauma

Police Care UK, a charity supporting the police and their families, has called for a national policing mental health strategy to be put in place.

"There is no comprehensive strategy to tackle the issue of mental health in policing, and that has to change. The service has real challenges around recognising and responding to the signs and symptoms of trauma exposure and is heavily reliant upon generic NHS . provision that isn't equipped for the specialist treatment needed."

– Gill Scott-Moore, Police Care UK