Revealed: GMP stress and anxiety related leave up 60% in last five years

The amount of police officers taking a leave of absence due to stress and anxiety has risen by almost 60%.

The number of Greater Manchester Police staff officers who have taken time off from work due to stress and anxiety has increased by almost 60% in the last five years.

A total of 597 police officers requested time away from their post from April 1 2018 to March 31 2019, a 59% increase from the 376 officers who took leave for stress or anxiety from April 1 2013 to March 31 2014.

The figures – revealed to Mancunian Matters in a Freedom of Information request submitted to Greater Manchester Police – show a huge rise in the number of police staff taking leave of absence for mental health related issues.

The data for April 1 2017 to March 31 2018 shows the highest amount of stress leave in the Greater Manchester Police force, with 613 officers taking time off, a 19% rise from the 516 staff members the year before.

The greatest increase year on year was the 25% rise recorded from the 376 officers in April 1 2013 to March 31 2014 and the 473 the following year.

A recent FOI request from The Sun highlighted that Greater Manchester Police spent £169,000 on counsellors and psychiatrists for their officers in the last 12 months.

Furthermore, mental charity Mind now have a section on their website which specifically addresses stress and anxiety help for members of the police force.

MM’s FOI statistics come after the government have just announced plans to improve the wellbeing for frontline police officers after publishing the Frontline Review on Wednesday.

The review, which was conducted by the Office for National Statistics on the Home Office’s behalf, revealed that staff are under great mental and physical strain and exhaustion.

“Insufficient staff numbers, equipment and training, as a consequence of reductions in funding, were said to have caused problems with capacity to meet demand and had a significant impact on increased workload,” the report concluded.

The report stated that participants in the police force felt that, ‘cuts have done too far’ but demand had increased.

“It was said repeatedly that it is too much to expect the police service to be able to meet that demand and that it was time to increase budgets and reinvest,” it concluded.

Around 80% of police funding comes in the form of a grant from the government. According to Greater Manchester Combined Authority, since 2010 the government has cut the budget they provide to Greater Manchester Police by £215 million.

Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester in April, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins stated that more than 40% of crime reports were not investigated because of budget cuts from the government.

Of the around 1,600 emergency and 2,500 non-emergency calls received by Greater Manchester Police on a daily basis, the force records only around 1,000 of those crimes.

“If your shed’s been broken into, your bike’s stolen, your vehicle’s broken into and there’s no witness, there’s no CCTV and there’s no opportunity for forensics, we’ll be screening that out really quickly.

“Your likelihood of a police officer turning up to deal with that is almost non-existent and that’s where the public have really started to feel it. That bit worries me,” he said.

MM contacted Greater Manchester Police Federation for comment and are awaiting reply.

Image courtesy of GMP via YouTube, with thanks.

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