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Mental health absences cost Police Scotland £10m in 18 months

The figures have been revealed via Freedom of Information requests submitted by the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

65,434 officer working days have been lost in Police Scotland due to mental ill health and other psychological disorders, the Scottish Lib Dems have revealed.

With a mean daily salary of £159 provided by the force, it means that the monetary cost of those absences amounts to over £10m.

Lib Dem Justice Spokesperson said: “Years of staff time is being lost at vast cost because officers are struggling under the pressure.

“We are asking them to deal with complex mental health cases and keep communities safe, while they’re struggling with their own stress and anxiety.

“We need to recognise the toll that this work can take on people.”

Chair of the Scottish Police Federation, David Hamilton, told the 1919 magazine that the figure was “appalling but sadly not surprising”.

He said: “What is most shocking of all though is that despite this issue being raised time and time again in our parliament, nothing is being done about it.

“There is no strategy, no vision, not even recognition of the scale of the crisis police officers are facing.”

The absences cover a range of reasons including illnesses such as anxiety, depression and stress, as well as issues related to bereavement or insomnia.

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor told 1919: “Policing is a relentless but rewarding vocation which places significant demand on physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

“Our people are highly motivated by public service and they work tirelessly to improve the lives of people and communities in Scotland every day, against a backdrop of increasing demand.

“The safety and wellbeing of officers and staff – and their families – is a priority for Police Scotland and we have a range of mechanisms to support our people across their psychological, physical, financial and social wellbeing.

“This includes a 24/7 employee assistance programme, a network of wellbeing champions, post-trauma risk assessment and we are a key partner within Lifelines Scotland, a wellbeing resource tailored to our blue light emergency responders.

She underlined the force is “determined to continue to drive improvements to support our people and provide them with the tools they need to do their job”.

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