Police officers to get stress tests

Police
officers will receive psychological tests to see how they cope with the stress
of their jobs, under new government plans.

The
£15m strategy, which has been agreed by the Police Superintendents’ Association
of England and Wales and the Police Federation of England and Wales, aims to
reduce sickness, absenteeism and early retirement among officers.

Under
the scheme, officers would regularly complete health questionnaires and, if
necessary, have access to occupational psychologists.

The
primary focus of the initiative will be officers in particularly stressful jobs,
such as those who carry guns, work undercover or investigate paedophiles.

Between
2000-2001 the police force in England and Wales lost more than 1.5 million days
to sick leave, with each officer averaging 12.2 lost days in 2001.

Chief
Supt Mike McAndrew said he hoped the move would combat the ‘macho’ job culture
among officers which stopped them complaining when under pressure.

By Michael Millar

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