Protect Fatigued Police Officers From Harm

There needs to be a better system to ensure police officers aren’t dangerously fatigued while driving home from night shifts, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

Chair Zoë Wakefield was speaking after over half (51.9%) of officers and staff who responded to a survey said they had been involved in a ‘near miss’ incident, such as a kerb strike, lane departure or almost had a collision.

Zoë said: “I think there’s loads more that can be done to improve the safety of our colleagues. A system could be set up where, for night shifts, you get a lift into work and you get a lift home from work, so that you don’t have to drive home.

“I know that in most forces, if an officer says, ‘I’m too tired to drive home’, then somebody will take them home. But then the problem is their car will be stuck at the police station. Then normally after nights you’re going into days off, so you’ve then got the hassle of getting the car. So in the end people go, ‘I’ll just drive home’.

“But if there was a better system where people could get a life into work for night shifts and a lift home, then that would help. This involves money and enthusiasm from forces. But what is the cost of a colleague’s life?”

She added: “We always criticise the public for driving while tired, yet we expect police officers to drive home when some of them have been awake for over 24 hours.”

Police officers should also be encouraged to rest and take decent breaks on night shifts, Zoë said, explaining: “There’s loads of research that’s been done about the benefits as well of having a 20-minute nap during a night shift and how that increases your brain power and productivity.”

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