The Wellbeing of UK Police: A Study of Recorded Absences from Work of UK Police Employees Due to Psychological Illness and Stress Using Freedom of Information Act Data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Policing is undoubtedly a dangerous occupation whereby officers are routinely exposed to dangerous and potentially traumatic events, such as attending road traffic collisions, informing people of the death of a loved one, and ensuring public safety at football matches. Frontline policing, is of course, not the only place whereby constant exposure to dangerous and distressing incidents can increase the risk of police employees developing emotional and psychological complaints that have serious effects on their ‘wellbeing’, with previous research identifying specific policing areas such as homicide investigation as likely to have negative effects on those doing the investigating. Although to date, research has focused on the wellbeing effects of ‘routine policing’, criminal investigation and specific events, as yet little is known about the effect on UK police employees wellbeing of ‘doing the job’ in terms of the number of days recorded as absent due to psychological illness, trauma and stress. The present study seeks to redress this gap by analysing sickness absence data recorded for 20 UK Police services for the past ten years, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). The data set represents some 57% of UK police personnel and findings suggest that police employee absence due to psychological ill-health, trauma and stress had nearly doubled in the past ten years to an absence rate of 8.82%. Furthermore, the present study found that 39% of those who take a first leave of absence due to mental ill-health, go on to take further absences from work.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalPolicing: A Journal of Policy and Practice
Early online date29 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jun 2020

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Wellbeing of UK Police: A Study of Recorded Absences from Work of UK Police Employees Due to Psychological Illness and Stress Using Freedom of Information Act Data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this