The number of days lost to sickness in the police force has dropped by
almost 10 per cent following the introduction of modern HR techniques and
The annual report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC)
shows the number of working days lost per officer has fallen from 12.2 in
2000-2001 to 11.5 in 2001-2002.
The number of police officers retiring on medical grounds has also dropped,
with 1,114 leaving the force in 2001-2002, compared to the previous figures of
The report attributes the improvement to the increased provision of private
health care, better management and closer monitoring of sickness.
It also highlights the use of individual case reviews and better management
back to work of officers on long-term sick leave.
Inspector Peter Tickle, head of occupational health and welfare at
Lancashire Police, said a range of new schemes and long-term targets helped
reduce sickness days at his force from 12.5 to 11.6 per officer.
"We have put a lot of effort into reducing sickness and this shows
we’re going in the right direction. We hope to continue this by reaching a
target of nine days by 2005," he said.
"We’re happy with the progress on sickness absence but the police as a
whole must now concentrate on tackling long-term sickness, which can sometimes
drag on," he added.
Health professionals at Lancashire now hold weekly meetings to discuss new sickness
cases and ensure an early intervention with all absent staff contacted by a
nurse or welfare officer.
The force also has introduced its own physiotherapy programme to help get
injured officers back to work and employed external counsellors for trauma
Lancashire now allows officers that are physically unfit for normal work to
return on restricted duties with a back to work plan, detailing their progress.
Tickle said a new fast-track surgery programme had helped to speed up the
recovery of injured officers by getting them treatment much earlier.
Top performing areas 2000-2001
Days lost Days lost to Days Days lost Days lost to Days
to sick long-term lost per to sick long-term lost per
leave sickness officer leave sickness officer
Bedfordshire 13,544 7,812 12.9 10,145 5,745 9.5
Humberside 16,485 11,271 8.6 17,353 10572 8.6
Northamptonshire 11,416 5,211 9.8 10,151 3,649 8.5
Northumbria 33,666 26,502 8.8 35,515 29,117 9.0
Suffolk 12,179 8,735 10.8 10,659 5,716 9.0
England and Wales 1.51m 761,300 12.2 1,46m 927,526 11.5
Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC)