Police officers have taken almost 20,000 days off in the last three years due to stress and depression, the Observer can reveal.
Figures released in a Freedom of Information Request have revealed that officers in Lancashire Constabulary took thousands of days off for reasons including stress, PTSD, anxiety, depression, self-harm, substance abuse and schizophrenia.
The Police Federation blames staff cuts for the number of days off taken for mental health reasons.
As part of a cost saving reorganisation police officer posts will have been reduced from 3,658 in 2009 to 2,962 in 2017.
Rachel Baines, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation, said: “We have lost hundreds of staff due to cut backs and that is putting more strain on police officers.
“It is a vicious circle in which more and more is expected from officers, these cutbacks continue to exacerbate the situation.“This is something that the federation will be keeping a close eye on.”
In the last three years police had 19,715 days off for mental health reasons in Lancashire which equates to roughly teo days off per officer per year, according to figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “Despite police officer sickness levels seeing a slight increase between April 2010 and March 2013, during the same period we have seen sickness for mental and behavioural disorders, which includes stress, actually decrease in both actual days lost and as a proportion of total sickness.
“Lancashire Constabulary has made a firm commitment to employee well-being and whilst we acknowledge the levels of sickness absence within the Constabulary are not what we would like to see, we are working hard to improve the working life for all our employees.”
Hyndburn councillor Pam Barton, Portfolio holder for Communities said; “It’s good to hear that Lancashire Constabulary has made a firm commitment to their employee well-being and that they are working hard to improve the working life for all their employees.”