NOT being able to take rest days is ‘rubbish’ for officers says Hampshire Police Federation.
More than 480,000 days off are owed to officers across England and Wales worrying new stats have revealed.
It means officers from across the country are just not getting the breaks and time away from the frontline they often so desperately need.
It’s an even bigger issue since the pandemic struck which has seen officers’ typical rest day and leave patterns disrupted by differing demands and challenges.
“This has happened because there just aren’t enough police officers,” Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoe Wakefield said.
“When something happens, and ‘extra’ officers are needed, forces have no option but to bring officers into work who are on a rest day.
“So, every time you see in the news, ‘extra officers’, those extra officers are people that have had their day off cancelled. They have their day off cancelled, and they then have it to reallocate to another point in time.
“However, because numbers are so low, the opportunities to take that cancelled rest day are scarce unless you want to take it on a Wednesday in the middle of November.
“But most of the cancelled rest days you have are on weekends, so naturally the officers want to have a weekend off in return,” Zoe added.
“On some occasions, forces will pay overtime when they call officers in, but due to lack of funding, officers just don’t have the money to do that. It’s really worrying because officers aren’t getting the rest that they need or the quality time with their families.
“It’s rubbish for officers because you know the rest of your family and friends are having a great time and you’re at work.”
It’s an issue the Federation and the Hampshire force have tried to resolve by asking officers to do longer shifts if they have to, rather than have their rest days cancelled.
“We try as much as we can and get the force to pay that time if they’re going to be in and try and get them to use officers on duty if they can.
“We’ve also got the force to extend peoples’ time on duty so if something is going on people might be on duty for 12 hours on that day rather than have their rest days cancelled,” Zoe said.
“Most agree they would rather work an extra few hours than lose their days off. Over the six-week school summer holidays, they’d probably only get two Saturdays off anyway so they would rather work an extra few hours than lose one of those days.”