Fatigued officers struggle with work-life balance

Police on Parade 2007 - by Chris Eason via Flickr
This article was originally published on this website

13 March 2017

Demands on police time is not abating and this is having a detrimental effect on officer work-life balance.

Physical wellbeing was a focal point in our recent officer welfare, demand and capacity survey.  Looking specifically at fatigue, health, activity and diet, the survey found:

  • 33% (one third) of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that fatigue had made it difficult to carry out certain duties and responsibilities at work
  • 56% agreed or strongly agreed that fatigue had interfered with family or social life
  • 65% reported their overall physical health to be good or very good
  • 68% indicated that they had a somewhat, very or extremely healthy and balanced diet
  • 24% reported having engaged in the recommended 30 minutes of exercise on five or more days over the last week

Hayley Aley, equality lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Resources are stretched and officers are taking on extra workloads all the time. This additional pressure is clearly impacting on their wellbeing and personal time.

“Policing is a job that comes with incredible pressure and responsibility – fatigued officers are giving it their all, but something has to be done to redress the balance.

“Officers are running on empty and their health, family and social lives are suffering as a result.”

Finding a way to ease the pressure should be a matter of priority – but being 21,500 officers down since 2009, this problem will not be solved overnight.

Mrs Aley added:  “Officers are at breaking point and something has to give – it should not be at the expense of the people we rely on to keep us safe.”

The Federation is working with forces and other representative bodies to address the gaps in welfare support but these findings and those of the entire survey, need to be taken seriously at the highest levels in Government.

Read the full welfare survey results and force area breakdowns.

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