MORE THAN 14,400 sick days were taken by North Yorkshire Police officers in 2012/13, new figures have shown.

Most of the sick days taken by police officers in that time were due to anxiety, depression and stress, according to the statistics, released under the Freedom Of Information Act.

Officers spent 14,469 days absent from duty due to sickness, up from 14,027 the previous year and 9,941 in 2010/11 - a rise of 46 per cent in two years.

Police staff and PCSOs reported sick 8,611 days in 2012/13, down from 9,529 in 2011/12 and 9,970 in 2009/10.

Mark Botham, chairman of the North Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “We work with our members and the force to try and support officers. As the disturbing figures show, policing remains a difficult and often dangerous occupation.

“Police numbers have reduced in North Yorkshire from 1,656 in 2006/7 to around 1,400 in 2013/14. We will continue to work to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our members remains a priority for the force and for the Police and Crime Commissioner.”

Ken McIntosh, North Yorkshire’s Temporary Assistant Chief Constable, said staff adhered to policies that included guidance on stress.

He said: “Work is ongoing on a Wellbeing Agenda, which incorporates a Stress Management Programme as one of the key initiatives. This aims to ensure the existing Stress Management Procedure and guidance for staff and managers are promoted as well as incorporating the steps and good practices within the training for our managers.

“By its very nature, policing can be a stressful occupation. It can also be a very fulfilling one.”
The most recent figures showed 174 days were taken by officers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress, 453 from stress, and 2,402 suffering from ‘Other Stress’, while 386 took days off through anxiety  and 905 were absent due to depression.

Figures from Humberside Police showed that in the 12 months to last August , police officers and PCSOs took 14,969 days sick, with 3,223.5 days lost to mental health related issues by police officers, and 11,745.5 days lost through other health issues.

In West Yorkshire, 5,536 days were lost to sickness in 2012/13, compared to 5,040 in 2011/12, and in South Yorkshire, 4,181 days were lost in 2013 to a combination of anxiety, stress and depression.