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?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003