Nearly ten per cent of police off sick or on limited duty

Almost one in 10 police officers in England and Wales is on sick leave or performing limited duties, according to new figures published today.

Almost 9,500 are on restricted duties due to ill-health, The Times reports.

A further 2,000 are on long-term sick leave and have been off work for at least one month.

The figures emerged in data obtained by The Times after it submitted Freedom of Information requests on each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

A Home Office spokesman said the responsibility for decisions about whether an officer retires on ill-health grounds or placed on restricted duties was a matter for the Chief Constable of the force concerned.

The spokesman said: "Restricted duties allows officers who are unable to undertake the full range of police duties to remain a police officer with restricted responsibilities rather than to be retired on grounds of ill-health.

"Recuperative duties are a temporary arrangement while officers recover from sick leave."

There are 1,902 officers on long-term sick leave in England and Wales, according to the figures.

These officers receive their full salary for the first six months and then half pay for the next six months, the newspaper found.

The Police Federation said that many of the 6,086 officers with long-term health problems on "restricted duties" should be allowed to retire.

Police Federation chairman Paul McKeever said: "The artificial cap on people being allowed to retire due to ill-health - no more than six officers per thousand a year - was seemingly plucked out of thin air by the Home Office.

"To make an arbitrary decision and put an artificial cap on is ridiculous and ludicrous.

"It means that many officers who have no likelihood of returning to frontline duties are able to retire.

"Officers who have served their communities and, through no fault of their own, have become unable to perform their duties are being accused of swinging the lead and malingering."

Chief Constable Peter Fahy, Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) lead for workforce development, said: "Police chiefs want to be fair by those officers who have been injured on duty or who have suffered from stress-related problems due to the sort of incidents they deal with.

"However, during hard economic times, the number of officers on restricted duties is a real concern and we have asked the Home Office review to deal with this matter.

"Previously there was concern about the number of officers getting medical pensions and, as a result, officers have been kept in office positions. This cannot be a long-term solution."

The figures show that nearly one in seven police officers in Warwickshire is on sick leave or on restricted duties.

In Cambridgeshire there was one in 24. West Yorkshire Police has 465 officers on restricted duties.

The Metropolitan Police Service, the country's biggest police force, has 2,163 officers on restricted or recuperative duties and 300 on long-term sick leave.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said occupational health advisers were used to minimise the number of officers placed on limited duties or long-term sick leave.

"Despite the physically and mentally demanding nature of police work, absenteeism rates in the Met are low, ahead of most public sector organisations and other police services."

West Midlands Police, the country's second largest police force, has 149 officers who have not worked for longer than a month and 560 on limited duties.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said: "Given that we have around 9,000 officers, the number on long-term sick leave is relatively small."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas