The interim results of the survey we have funded into the support available to police officers following an injury on duty have been released.Get your copy of the research
2016 was an important year for Police Care UK. Not only did 2016 mark the 50th anniversary of the organisation, but it was also a turning point in the service provided. Much has changed since that fateful day in 1966: the makeup of the service; the nature of the incidents police officers and staff deal with; and the immense pressure they are under. All are very different today.
As we approached this milestone in the history of our organisation we felt the time was right to ask officers what more we can do to support them. With the assistance of Surrey University and Surrey Police, we commissioned the independent police injury-on-duty research to help us better understand the needs of injured police officers and staff. More than 11,000 people took the time to respond and many of the headline statistics in this document relate to the 2,905 survey respondents who had experienced an injury within the 5 years prior to the survey and had taken a week or longer off work. The report’s primary purpose is to inform our own development but we believe that its value extends beyond the remit of Police Care UK and should be used to inform activity to improve health and wellbeing across the service.
81% of our respondents said they had experienced at least one physical injury or mental health issue due to their police work
76% of respondents said this was in the past 5 years
45% of respondents said this resulted in them taking a week or longer off work
The research found a high proportion of participants reporting at least one physical or psychological injury/mental health issue whilst working for the Police Service. This is perhaps expected, as self-selection bias may have prompted those who had an injury experience to participate in the research.
Overall, it was found that psychological injuries or mental health issues were a factor in over half of the injuries reported in the study, although this figure was significantly higher for Police Staff. Anxiety and depression were the most commonly reported psychological injuries or mental health issues, whilst a substantial number of participants reported PTSD. Back/neck/shoulder injuries, fractures/ dislocations/sprains or other soft tissue injuries to upper and lower limbs, and head injuries were the most commonly reported physical injuries.
There was some evidence of a general reluctance to report injuries on duty, due to uncertainty around being redeployed. Participants’ also highlighted concerns about reporting psychological injuries or mental health issues to their forces over fears this information may remain on personal records. In general, participants reported a reluctance to take time off work, due in part to a sense of professional pride. However, there was also evidence that they could put themselves under pressure to return to work as quickly as possible in order to support other frontline colleagues.