Statement by Sir Thomas Winsor, HMCIC, on officers’ stress

The Scales of Jutice, Old Bailey- By James Cridland via Flickr
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Yesterday, on Sky News, I made a mistake, for which I apologise.

I said that, in contrast to detectives, response officers “take nothing home” at the end of their shifts. That is plainly wrong, it is not what I meant, and I realise it has caused anger and offence. I am sorry about this.

I was asked what might be the reasons why forces are facing difficulties in persuading officers to become or stay detectives. I spoke about the risks which detectives carry in a caseload, some of which will be both complex and involve crimes of an intensely distressing nature, including crimes of violence, abuse and sexual exploitation.

Response and neighbourhood policing are undoubtedly stressful. Police officers and staff who deal with the many dreadful things which people do to others, or which happen to them, most certainly do not leave them behind; they take them home, and in many cases they stay with them forever. This was illustrated by some of the harrowing examples on Twitter yesterday.

I hope those who have criticised what I said yesterday will also look at what I said in the state of policing report yesterday about the very considerable risks and stresses which police officers and staff face and carry every day, and the repeated tributes which I have paid to their bravery, professionalism, dedication and sheer hard work, none of which is in any doubt. The public owe a very great debt to police officers and staff for what they do, even though they do not fully appreciate the extent, frequency, severity and terrible nature of so much of it.

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