Northamptonshire Police show highest increase in officers sick due to mental health

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Absences due to mental health amongst Northamptonshire Police officers have more than doubled in the last five years, figures have revealed.

Responses to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests show that Northamptonshire saw the highest increase in officer absences compared to other police forces in the East of England, with the number of stress-related absences rising from 594 in 2009 to 1,441 in 2013, and the number of officers claiming mental health leave rising by just under 400 per cent, from 22 to 108.

Branch secretary of Northamptonshire Police Federation, Neil Goosey, said cuts to the force, and further planned cuts of £20 million were to blame for “anxiety and fear” and having a “huge impact on staff”.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: “Being aware of this, we have a number of outlets to support our staff, both informally and on a confidential, but more formal basis.

“As a force, we also deal with stress-related issues a lot more proactively than may have been the case in the past.

“For example, a year ago, we launched the Open Mind Network. An internal project designed to help people with stress problems.

“This project has seen a number of people return to work who had been off ill for lengthy periods due to stress.

“We are also building links with the local NHS, MIND and the psychology department of the University of Northampton as part of the project.”