One in 50 Scottish police officers on long-term sick leave

One in 50 Scottish police officers are on long-term sick leave, with a total of 348 officers signed off work.

About 2% of Scotland’s national police force are on long-term leave (more than 28 days) due to stress, injury or illness, according to figures from The Scotsman.

Lothian and Borders Police estimate that absence levels are costing the service about £10m a year.

Peter Thickett, director of HR at Lothian and Borders Police, said the force had to do more to improve the way it looked after its staff.

“We do have high absence rates,” he admitted. “However, we compare reasonably well with other public-sector groups, particularly other emergency services.”

Thickett said that some progress had been made, including the introduction of mental-health checks for staff exposed to unusually traumatic experiences.

The Scottish Police Federation, which represents 15,000 officers, said sickness rates indicated the growing burden on police, with extra demands such as closer monitoring of sex offenders and the growing threat of terrorism increasing pressure on officers.

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