Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Police sickness absence rate falls

Police sickness rates have fallen to under eight days per year

Police sickness absence in Northern Ireland has fallen to just under eight days a year.

Civilian staff took a little more than nine days off per year, the Policing Board said.

A physiotherapist scheme to help recover from injury and other efforts to boost welfare have been credited by members of the board.

This is despite the risk from dissident republicans remaining at its highest level since the 1998 Omagh bomb.

An occupational health and welfare branch at the police service aims to improve well-being. Services available are outlined at staff induction sessions and supervisors are trained in post-traumatic stress awareness.

The police's Training Development Strategy 2009-2012 said supervisors are being tutored in management of sickness absence. There is also peer support training in post-traumatic stress and a new attendance management policy.

Democratic Unionist Policing Board member Jonathan Bell said: "Northern Ireland is privileged to have some very brave men and women who will put on a uniform, put their own safety at risk and we are indebted to them."

He added: "Sickness absence is being properly audited and monitored in individual officers and line managers are taking very close responsibility and the Policing Board is holding them to account."

The well-being scheme has been recognised locally and nationally in the last year. This has included the Orange National Business Award for Health, Work and Well-being, the PSNI being one of around 100 organisations considered for the award including Marks & Spencer, the Metropolitan Police and Northern Bank.

DUP board member Jimmy Spratt said: "These accolades reflect the excellent work that has been done in this area by the PSNI and they are to be congratulated."

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