A police chief has warned officers that taking sickies because they have a hangover is not acceptable.
In an interview for an Essex Police Federation article, Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said some officers were "abusing the sickness management process", adding: "Every time they throw a sickie they are letting their mates down, they are letting their community down."
Officers in the county average 12 days sick a year, while nurses at Broomfield Hospital in Colchester average only seven, Mr Kavanagh said.
He added: " For those who are genuinely unwell, we are looking at how we support through occupational health and if necessary investing in occupational health to get them back.
"But I think if you look at the overall numbers compared to other forces, there is also a group - a small group but a group nonetheless - that are abusing the sickness management process.
"If they can't get the time off, they take it sick. If they have a heavy night, on occasions they are taking days off. They will be challenged and if necessary they will be dealt with."
He said fellow officers are forced to pick up the workload of those who take unnecessary sick days.
"We should be much better than where we are at the moment," Mr Kavanagh added.
"I will be looking to work with the federation to say how do we support those who are genuinely in need and how do we work together to get people to stop abusing the system and overloading their mates."