Suffolk police relies on counselling to battle stress-related absence

Police forces in Suffolk are relying on counselling courses to treat the high levels of stress its officers are facing, reports.

A Freedom of Information request submitted to Suffolk Constabulary found that some 4,000 working days were taken off by its officers between September 2009 and November 2012.

Decreasing budgets has been blamed for the added stress, with ever-increasing workloads making police officers' jobs more difficult than ever before. This has resulted in 29,667 hours being taken off through stress by police officers in Suffolk alone. Specifically, the shortest length of time signed off was two hours, whilst the longest was over a year.

Now, in light of the statistics, the Constabulary has implemented a scheme offering counselling to its officers in the hope of creating a much less stressful environment that will thereby reduce the number of sick days taken.

Chairman of the Suffolk Police Federation, Matt Gould, told that the figures were unacceptable, if not unexpected.

He added: "It's an issue that affects all police forces, not just Suffolk Constabulary. We have taken measures within Suffolk Constabulary to tackle the issue of stress-related sickness and other sickness.

"We are in a situation now where our officers have access to an occupational health department and to counsellors, which is helping."