Northern Ireland’s police service has seen sickness absence soar in the wake
of a surge in sectarian violence that has stretched its resources to the limit.
HR director Joe Stewart, in an interview in September with OH’s sister
newspaper Personnel Today, said the service was experiencing high absenteeism
rates and that nearly a third (30 per cent) of officers on sick leave had
suffered an injury while on duty.
The service now intends to launch a campaign to examine all cases of
significant absenteeism, if necessary redeploying officers from frontline
A report, also published in September, by Tom Constantine, the man appointed
as a watchdog to monitor police reform in Northern Ireland, highlighted the
high levels of sick leave among officers as it struggled to deal with sectarian
rioting and organised crime.