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IveToldYouOnce

Sick?

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35965223

 

Officers off with 'psychological sickness' is up 35% - that's despite HMG apparently giving us £10 million quid to 'help'.

 

Our force did away with their own welfare person - cost too much I guess - and now give us a phone number to call if we're having problems.  I'm surprised that they didn't just give us the Samaritan's number instead.

 

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I thought the police were the uniformed wing of the Samaritans with some of the work they have to do.

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Number of police officers and staff down, the  amount we are expected to do has gone up with a lot more serious crimes being reported and investigated, so work loads have increased in many cases.  At the same time as ITYO pointed out, police welfare departments have been reduced in number.  Pay has also been squeezed whilst living expenses have increased meaning that stress outside of work may also influence the figures.  I would however like to know what the comparable figures for other state departments are and to see if they have also increased during the time frame. 

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At the risk of being branded sexist, we found that the higher ratio of officers going sick was with the female officers. 

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At the risk of being branded sexist, we found that the higher ratio of officers going sick was with the female officers. 

 

Not current information as you're retired though. It would be interesting to see the breakdown however, but I'd also like to see what illnesses are quoted.

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It's not really hard to understand, is it? We deal with things that could quite easily overwhelm an individual. However, as part of a team we cope and perform. So what do they do? They undermine and reduce our ability to work as a team. It would be laughable were it not our mental health and the public at risk.

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Not current information as you're retired though. It would be interesting to see the breakdown however, but I'd also like to see what illnesses are quoted.

The information is re enforced with current knowledge from colleagues still serving in GMP, Derbyshire, and Cheshire.

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The information is re enforced with current knowledge from colleagues still serving in GMP, Derbyshire, and Cheshire.

They are researching the male/female division re sickness for you? Over three forces? Come on Zulu, let's get some hard facts, not gossip from a mates perspective ;)

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Before I retired, which was 10 years ago now (where does the time go), speaking from experience, yes, there were officers who were genuinely sick, but there were always those who used to, extract the urine. It was easy to see who was doing that because it was mostly the same ones. Of those, I would take an educated guess and say more of them were female officers than male. For the 'purpose of the tape' I am in no way a anti female officers at all, as some may be.

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Could this 'psychological Sickness' be partly brought on by the force management and their attitude or requirement to reduce sickness?

 

Like Westie I retired some time ago but one of the PC's I worked regularly with was injured on duty when trying to assist a person who was having an epileptic fit. As this person thrashed about my colleague was knocked to the ground and the other person landed across his knee so bending it backwards against the joint. He was off sick initially for 3 months after undergoing surgery to replace a knee cap. Then 6 and then 9 months went by  By which time the management were getting a little fed up with his absence and he would get regular visits from the Occupational Health, eventually Shift Managers then Senior Officers. they were all badgering him to come back to work  with the veiled threat he may be retired sooner than he wanted. This, all despite being fully certificated. Even when the visits were made he was encased in plaster on the damaged limb.

 

This pushed him too far and his sickness was extended again, this time to include stress! During this extended stress related episode his knee was declared fit enough for him to return to work, but the stress related sickness continued.  He did eventually get back to work after eventually being away for 13 months. I lost touch after I retired but the last I heard it was going to an employment tribunal.

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They are researching the male/female division re sickness for you? Over three forces? Come on Zulu, let's get some hard facts, not gossip from a mates perspective ;)

 

One of those mates is a serving female Chief Superintendent.  Nobody takes offence at an officer who is genuinely sick and/or injured, but, we all know, or knew officers who were taking the proverbial.  Not feeling 100% is no excuse for going sick.

 

I used to make sick visits regularly with my federation cap on, to see if there was any advice or support  that could be given. I was once instructed that I could not contact an officer because he was on suspension.  My reply was that the officer was injured with a broken leg and in plaster and that I would visit him on a welfare basis. If they did not agree to this then I would want it "in writing" forbidding such contact. That memo never arrived. 

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Perhaps we're recruiting the wrong type of people.

 

It seems to make sense to me that we should be selecting people primarily on their:

 

1. Mental resilience

2. Communication skills

3. Physical fitness

 

When you recruit people with none of the above, it's no wonder we have problems with sickness. If you possess the qualities above, then really the job isn't that tough, particularly compared to many vocations in the 'real world'.

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Taking your point one, where do you start? I have known perfectly normal people, absolutely go to pieces when faced with a situation which would disturb or even worse almost anyone which is completely unforeseen. Then there is the stress of the normal work, when the pressure just gets to you, and it will get to anyone in time if the support and backup is not there at a time of crisis. Piling situation after situation onto someone's shoulders and when they protest that it is impossible then that is the breaking point. When the work gets to a point it is injurious to a persons well being, that is the time to shout for help.

 

As much as I dislike some of the stupid things that Health and Safety are blamed for or concern themselves with, perhaps if they were more involved with concerns over a persons well being at work when it is a stressful job, then perhaps the bosses may sit up and take notice if they face a prosecution or two for breaching the law. The law is there - lets use it to our advantage.

 

Here is a small section what it covers and what should happen:-

 

What are the Management Standards What are the Management Standards for work related stress?

The Management Standards define the characteristics, or culture, of an organisation where the risks from work related stress are being effectively managed and controlled.

The Management Standards cover six key areas of work design that, if not properly managed, are associated with poor health and well-being, lower productivity and increased sickness absence. In other words, the six Management Standards cover the primary sources of stress at work. These are:

  • Demands – this includes issues such as workload, work patterns and the work environment.
  • Control – how much say the person has in the way they do their work.
  • Support – this includes the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues.
  • Relationships – this includes promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
  • Role – whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles.
  • Change – how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation.

The Management Standards represent a set of conditions that, if present, reflect a high level of health well-being and organisational performance.

The Management Standards:
  • demonstrate good practice through a step by step risk assessment approach;
  • allow assessment of the current situation using surveys and other techniques;
  • promote active discussion and working in partnership with employees to help decide on practical improvements that can be made;
  • help simplify risk assessment for work related stress by:
    • identifying the main risk factors for work related stress;
    • helping employers focus on the underlying causes and their prevention; and
    • providing a yardstick by which organisations can gauge their performance in tackling the key causes of stress.

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I don't suggest there aren't genuine reasons for sickness, mental health issues included. However, my own experience tells me more than a few are a little hair-trigger on that front. Headlines like this give them another excuse.

For all the stresses, personal restrictions and long hours the job can bring, nobody forces me to keep doing it.

To be honest, notwithstanding the issues above, when I explain to peers that I only work 6 days in 10 I'm kind of sheepish about it...

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