High Policing Demand Linked To PTSD

THE Police Service needs to make “big changes” to deal with the issues that are leading to PTSD in officers, Hampshire Police Federation has said, as a new survey links high demand to poor mental health.

The University of Cambridge found that high levels of PTSD across UK police forces were partly the result of bad working conditions such as having too little time, sexual harassment, and dealing with difficult situations without support.

However, officers who said they felt supported by colleagues, and had a sense of doing meaningful work, had around half the rates of a form of PTSD as the national average for police.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said: “This research is absolutely not a surprise to us. PTSD is not just caused by going to traumatic incidents, it’s also knowing that you can’t get to that traumatic incident.

“You might be trying to get to the job that you hear on the radio but you can’t physically get there because you’re tied up with something else. So you might hear a colleague being assaulted. That can have a mental impact on you. We’re seeing more and more officers with PTSD. It’s really sad.”

She continued: “We need big changes to stop this happening – we need to really look at the prevention side of it. Not just looking after officers once they’re poorly, but how we can stop them being poorly in the first place.

“It doesn’t help that officers are single crewed all the time. Maybe even having some time away would help – coming off the frontline for a few months and doing a swap with somebody in an office role. There’s got to be more options available.”

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