Scottish police take 200,000 sick days due to mental ill health

Police are investigating after a building was set alight in East Calder.
Police are investigating after a building was set alight in East Calder.
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Police officers and staff suffering from psychological problems have taken almost 200,000 sick days over the last three years, new figures show.

The figures, released by Police Scotland to the Liberal Democrats under Freedom of Information laws, show officers struggling with mental ill health took 141,230 sick days between 2013 and 2016.

Over the same period there were 54,019 working days lost by civilian staff who cited psychological problems.

Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur MSP said the figures were evidence of a force that was “being stretched to breaking point”.

He said: “Police officers and civilian staff work tirelessly to help keep us safe every day in communities across Scotland. But they are not getting the support they need from the government.

“The savings that were promised by the SNP before the creation of Police Scotland have not materialised. As a result, officers and civilian staff are being asked to do more and more with less. With the chief constable warning that further cuts are coming, the pressure on staff is only likely to get worse.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “Police officers and support staff do an excellent job and their welfare is taken very seriously. We expect Police Scotland to have robust policies in place to support staff and manage their health at work and they have a number of targeted activities to support wellbeing and occupational health across the organisation.

“We have committed to protecting the police revenue budget in real terms, safeguarding policing from Westminster budget cuts and delivering an additional £100 million of investment by the end of this parliament.”