Reports have revealed that British police officers have taken a record-breaking number of days off work due to mental health issues.
Based on the data obtained through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, the number of days taken off by police officers due to mental illness increased by 9% in a year, from 457,154 in 2020 to 497,154 in 2021.
Warwickshire Police reported the highest increase in cases, with 4,781 days lost due to mental illness, a 68 per cent increase over the previous year.
Former HM Inspector of Police Zoe Billingham suggested that the data shows a higher prevalence of mental illness among emergency services due to what they faced during the pandemic.
She said: “Police and other front-line services kept us safe through the pandemic.
“Mental health and other professions were there from the get-go on the front line and, with enforced lockdown, there is an awful lot of trauma that the country is dealing with now. There has been a doubling in referrals for children with mental health due to the lockdown period.”
According to the data, 2.4 million police working days have been lost due to mental health issues in the last five years.
The Liberal Democrats have warned there is a “mental health epidemic” amongst police officers.
The party has urged the government to provide additional mental health support for officers by funding six-monthly proactive mental health and wellbeing check-ups.
“Years of under-resourcing under the Conservatives means the thin blue line is being stretched to breaking point. This can have a catastrophic impact on the well-being of individual police officers.
“The Government needs to get to grips with the growing mental health epidemic affecting our police and other front-line workers, and ensure support is available quickly to those who need it.”