By Gregor Sleith
New research by a Canadian academic has drawn attention to the underlying mood experienced by police officers in Scotland, highlighting problems with officers turning to alcohol and prescription drug use to combat growing stress related issues.
Professor Linda Duxbury from Carelton University in Ottawa was sponsored by the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) and surveyed officers in six divisions across Scotland May, June and September this year.
The study found that just over two-thirds of officers (67%) said they experience stress on a daily basis due to having to deal with multiple demands simultaneously, while 64% said they suffered stress daily due to the sheer number of calls they receive and the lack of resources available to respond to them. This has lead to one in ten officers suffering from psoriasis, a skin condition which is caused from stress related issues.
The new figures are very worrying, increasing demands upon officers have left them turning up for work whilst mentally unwell, 35% of officers asked, admitted to this. Alongside this one in ten officers also admitted to turning to alcohol and/or prescription drugs as a coping mechanism.
With mental health issues increasing for serving officers, a question emerges; whether enough is being done to offer support to those who support us?
In a statement, a Scottish Government spokeswomen said:
“Police Officers and staff do an excellent job in often very difficult circumstances and it is right that they have access to appropriate support.
“While the welfare and well-being of police officers and staff is the responsibility of the chief constable, we support initiatives being undertaken by Police Scotland to create a safe, positive and healthy working environment.
“This includes their occupational health service and employee assistance programs to aid officers and staff in caring for their mental health.”