Protect Your Wellbeing by Taking Time Off

Police officers must take all their days off to protect their health and wellbeing, Hampshire Police Federation has warned.

Zoë Wakefield, Federation Chair, said officers are asking to carry out overtime outside of police working time regulations, which could leave them exhausted and at risk, she said.

The force states that in every duty pattern not more than eight days may be worked before at least two rest days are allocated – among other stipulations.

Zoë said: “Our resource management team will not let people breach the working time regulations. We’ve got officers that will happily work overtime every single rest day they’ve got. Our resource management team are stopping them and officers are telling us it’s unfair; they want to opt out of working time regs.

“My personal view and the general view of the management in Hampshire is that those regs are there to protect officers and to ensure that they get some kind of work/life balance and periods of rest.

“If we allow officers to come out of it we could end up with the situation where an officer falls asleep in their car driving home after a night shift and the worst happens. I would never, ever support a position where officers are allowed to work in excess of the working time regs hours because I’ve just been to too many police officer funerals – and I don’t want to go to any more.”

Zoë said she was cognisant of financial problems for officers, but that she would advise them to seek help from the welfare fund before sacrificing their health.

She added: “If somebody’s struggling financially, they’re working all the hours in the world, they’re not getting any time with their family or their friends and they’re not getting any down time; that’s certainly not going to help anybody’s mental wellbeing and it will just make things worse all round.

“A lot of these people are young. They’ve got long lives ahead of them. You don’t want to burn yourself out in your 20s and 30s.”

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