Police Fatigue Is Getting Worse

Police fatigue is getting worse because the force is understaffed and officers don’t have time to rest, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

In the Government’s recent Police Covenant Annual Report 2024, it states: “Tackling extreme fatigue is a growing area of concern as our understanding develops on how the ever-increasing pressure on our officers and staff impacts them.” In response, the Home Office funded the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS) to launch a project supporting officers who are experiencing fatigue.

But Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said the fundamental problem was a lack of officers and an urgent need for more Government funding.

She said: “Fatigue has always been an issue for police officers, and there are lots of studies out there that show how to combat fatigue. For instance, the airline industry has done a huge amount of work on this for pilots. Those studies show that having a short nap of 20 minutes or so, during a night shift or a late shift, has a massively positive impact on not only your fatigue but also your performance.

“The issue with policing is that officers don’t even get a chance to have a meal break, let alone have a nap. In the latest Pay and Morale Survey, Hampshire came 43rd out of 43 forces for officers feeling pressurised to stay on and work long hours.”

She continued: “I think senior officers can be worried about the public perception of officers having naps. But this all links in to pay as well, because we’ve got officers working so much overtime because they need to financially.

“And again there’s a lack of officers. In our investigations department, we’re almost 50% down on our PIP 2 investigators, so they’ve got these huge workloads and are working longer hours just to try and keep on top of the work.

“We need more funding from the Government to pay officers fairly, and to recruit sufficient officers to be able to cope with the workload and the demand. All those other things need to be resolved to really look at the whole fatigue piece.”

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