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McArthur: Police mental health has been sidelined

February 7, 2021 1:00 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrats have today revealed that 126,114 police officer and staff days were lost to mental health related illnesses between January 2019 and September 2020.

Police Scotland previously claimed that the force would repeat its 2015 staff survey, which exposed serious problems in the working culture and practices within Scotland's police force. A repeat was scheduled for 2017, but has been repeatedly delayed.

On 10 November, the Justice Secretary told Parliament "the Chief Constable and Police Scotland senior management have told me that they intend to hold the survey in February 2021".

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

"These figures show the brutal toll that mental ill health is taking on the national force.

"We expect the police to deal with vulnerable people in their moments of greatest need, yet the Scottish Government has failed to provide officers with the support they need to manage their own mental health.

"But these figures only offer a glimpse of what officers and staff experience. In the six years since the first full staff survey provided a worrying insight, Freedom of Information requests have repeatedly shown a situation getting worse. More days than ever are being lost to mental health.

"Covid can only have made things more difficult. The Scottish Government and Police Scotland need to make the new survey a priority, so they can get to grips with what's going on behind the scenes.

"The mental health of officers and staff cannot be sidelined."

ENDS