The Metropolitan Police has refuted accusations that its occupational health (OH) services are too small and inadequately funded to deal with long-term strain on officers.
The Met Police Federation, which promotes the welfare of officers and staff, claimed that the long-term pressure on officers following the London terrorist attacks on 7 July was likely to be greater than from 30 years of IRA threats.
Des Keenoy, representative of the Met Police Federation’s constables, said officers would soon start to “suffer the strains of continuous working and then be blamed for not looking after their own welfare”. He called for greater funding and an expansion of OH services to cope.
But Paul Madge, director of people development at the Met, said that as a public service, the authority operated within financial constraints and “just pumping money in” was not the answer.
Instead, he said the Met was trying to concentrate on advising officers how to recognise stress in themselves and others and take steps to address factors such as their diets and working hours.
Since the 7 July bombings, the Met has launched a programme that provides training, counselling and support to officers over a one-year period, Madge said.
The authority was also creating extra capacity to deal with any OH shortfalls, and forging new alliances with other ‘blue light agencies’ such as the NHS, he added.