13 May 2021
Police forces are being urged to take fatigue and recovery seriously in two blogs published by the Police Federation of England and Wales as part of this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
The Federation’s latest demand, capacity and welfare survey showed more than half of officers found it difficult to carry out certain duties and tasks at work because of fatigue with 64 per cent admitting this had interfered with their family life or social life. Almost 80 per cent of frontline officers said they had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety or other difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing over the previous 12 months.
Former Lancashire Chief Constable Andy Rhodes - who leads Oscar Kilo, the national police wellbeing service - said: “If you look broadly across the whole of society, you will see the pandemic is having a massive impact on everybody’s mental health
“But police officers are working one of the most stressful jobs that is out there, and on top of that there are all the other things the pandemic has brought - particularly into our personal lives.”
He said it was vital that forces now looked at fatigue and recovery and added: “We’ve already got evidence this is a job that takes it out of you.
“With Covid there’s been no respite and we need to come out of that. We’re using that knowledge to influence the recovery programme.”
The Federation’s national wellbeing chair Hayley Aley said: “The Federation has been constantly raising issues around fatigue for a number of years. The pandemic has almost culminated in bringing everything together to say; if we don’t look at fatigue now, what will it look like when we start to recover from the pandemic?”