Cumbria

Cumbria Police sickness: 4,000 days lost in three months

More than 4,000 working days were lost through sickness at Cumbria Police in just three months, new figures show.

"Psychological disorders" accounted for 25% of sick leave among officers between July and September, with the total sickness bill costing £580,000.

The Police Federation said low morale and stress brought on by budget cuts was a major cause.

But senior officers put the figures down to an increase in those on long-term sick leave.

A report to be considered by Cumbria's police and crime commissioner later this month, shows that 5.1% of duty time was lost to sickness in the three months - up from 4.5% in the previous quarter.

The force currently employs 1,154 officers, 632 staff and 86 community support officers.

'Terrific job'

Martin Plummer, vice chairman of Cumbria's Police Federation, said: "We have a lot fewer police officers that are being asked to perform increasing numbers of duties.

"Their workloads are greater and the bottom line is that if you are asking fewer police to do the same or more work, then there is going to be an issue.

"Officers in Cumbria do a terrific job, but morale is low and if sickness is as high as it is, then it is something we need to look very carefully at."

Ch Supt Steve Johnson said: "We split sickness into short, medium and long-term and I think if morale was the issue we would see that trend in the short and medium term.

"Where we are seeing the increase in the trend is in long-term sickness, which is sickness certified by doctors and over 28 days. We are doing all we can to support all these officers."

In May Cumbria Police announced it was to recruit 75 new police officers despite facing more than £20m of budget cuts.

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