POLICE officers in North Yorkshire will take part in major national research to discover how badly they are affected by fatigue in their roles.

The research is the first of its kind in the UK, and will look at the root causes of stress and fatigue among police officers and staff at a small number of forces around the country, with an aim to recommend new policies to help reduce the problem.

Will Eastwood, from the North Yorkshire Police Federation, said the organisation had worked closely with fatigue management specialists Third Pillar of Health and other forces and Federations, to provide an online assessment for officers to complete.

He said: "We hope that this study will go some way to assisting our officers and organisations in improving the management of fatigue in the future.

"The potential benefits of this being firstly an assessment that will make instant recommendations, often small changes that will improve quality of life, and secondly the collection of data which will enable analysis of what makes the most impact on officer fatigue. We have since been joined in the study by several other services, including, Sussex, Thames Valley and South Yorkshire; their participation will strengthen the quality of data gathered and is a great boost."

Marcus de Guingand, managing director of Third Pillar of Health, said: "Anecdotally, there appears to be a significant issue with tiredness and fatigue in UK Police Officers. Together with increased workloads as a result of widespread budget cuts there appears to be rising levels of stress as well as absence. However, without statistical data we cannot say for sure.

"The US is much further ahead on this issue than we are in the UK. As such I hope that the pilot programme with six participating Federations and Forces will give us sufficient data to analyse across all participants, different regions as well as comparing job roles and shift schedules to see if there are any trends. On the back of the results we are hoping to be able to make suggestions for 'workable solutions'."