Number Of MOD Police Taking Time Off Over Mental Health Rises

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Officers in the MDP are paid 95% of the salary of those in other forces and have to retire seven years later.

The number of Ministry of Defence Police officers taking time off with mental health problems has soared, according to the federation representing them.

It is claimed the number affected has risen by more than 80% in the last three years from 60 to 110.

Stress, depression and anxiety are all blamed for the rise, according to Chairman of the Defence Police Federation Eamon Keating who is speaking at the group's annual conference today.

In 2016, 60 officers from the force took time off for mental ill health, while in the period from April 2018 to February 2019, 110 did so.

The number of days lost to the illnesses also rose by 52% in the same period, from 6,157 days in 2016 to 9,385 in the 10 months to February 2019.

The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) has the second highest number of armed police officers in any UK force, after the Metropolitan Police.

They are responsible for guarding military sites, assets including the Trident warheads, and personnel.

Mr Keating is due to tell delegates at the conference in Essex: "The risk to our officers, if we don't engage and invest in welfare, is that there is nobody there to help them and so, therefore, rather than coming forward with their concerns, things will get hidden.

"And when things get hidden with armed police officers, that doesn't make for a good equation."

Officers in the MDP are paid 95% of the salary of those in other forces and have to retire seven years later.

The federation chairman will say: "It is essential in any organisation, but massively more so where the organisation is predominantly carrying out critical policing and security functions - armed - while working excessive overtime, to demonstrate that those individuals working for you are both valued and wanted.

"The environment that our officers find themselves in now is one where none of them, that talk to us, feel valued or respected, but do feel as if their leaders look down upon them and treat them as if they are underperforming."

Mr Keating will add: "We work in an environment where members do what they do not only because of their unshakeable loyalty to their calling but because they work in an environment where they are told to do so, not because they are inspired or motivated.

"We genuinely fear that should this continue much longer, the impact will be substantial."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Mental health issues can affect anyone and the MOD Police have a range of support in place to ensure that personnel can access the support they need.

"This includes offering a full-time welfare officer, 30 mental health first aiders and a 24/7 welfare support helpline.

"MOD Police can also access support from the Police Firearms Officers' Association and the MOD employee wellbeing services."

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Thursday, 18 July 2019

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