Absence management at Lancashire police takes the phone-back by line manager approach

Police officers who phone in sick can expect a call from their sergeant asking them why they are not at work, it has emerged.

Police constables at Lancashire police force who phone in complaining of a cough or a cold will automatically receive a call from their boss in a drive to cut absence.

HR director Ashley Judd said the move had seen 50 extra officers back on the beat per day, compared with figures from five years ago. On average, officers took eight days off sick last year, compared to 11 days per year in 2003.

Judd told Police Review: “It is about motivation and about the person who has a sniffle or is feeling a bit under the weather. It is about them wanting to get out of bed when the alarm goes off and it is dark and cold outside.”

The Police Federation, which represents 140,000 police officers, supported the scheme, but was concerned the force would not have enough staff to actively monitor and call those on sick leave. It added there were shortages of people in occupational health, welfare, physiotherapy and counselling to address long-term sickness issues.

Earlier this year, Personnel Today revealed that lie detectors could soon be used to deter employees from ‘pulling sickies’, after the government hailed trials of the technology a success.

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