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McArthur reveals police withdrew support for workforce mental health research

June 3, 2021 2:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

During First Minister's Questions this afternoon, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP revealed the police withdrew its backing for a flagship mental health research programme and he challenged the First Minister to improve support for officers in the face of shattering survey results.

On Tuesday it was revealed that 29% of police officers are experiencing moderate burnout, and a further 16% are enduring high levels.

At FMQs, Mr McArthur said:

"When we highlighted devastating research 18 months ago, ministers told us they were "very satisfied" with the mental health support available for officers.

"Now expert researchers have again concluded 'many frontline officers are suffering from chronic stress associated with their circumstances at work'.

"Police were co-sponsors of this long-term research. But I've learned that support was withdrawn because the research programme was keen to understand the impact of covid on the workforce - but Police Scotland said it was "too soon", so withdrew support.

Commenting following the exchange, Mr McArthur said:

"Scotland's police officers have been badly let down. In the face of yet more research showing the stress felt in the force, the Scottish Government must accept that they don't have the mental health support they need.

"We need to see many more mental health staff working alongside the police, mental health first aiders supporting colleagues and annual staff surveys to identify issues quickly."

ENDS