Shocking figures show thousands of personnel struggle to cope with mounting pressures caused by years of budget cuts that saw 20,000 colleagues slashed
Cleveland Police may be the force with the most days lost through sick leave for mental health reasons.
But all police forces are suffering, as the Sunday People reveals a total of nearly 500,000 days off work.
For the public that means a thin blue line stretched even thinner.
For the officers themselves, it represents thousands of personal struggles as they succumb to years of budget cuts which have seen 20,000 colleagues lost.
The public these brave men and women protect must understand the tremendous pressure that puts on those protecting them.
Boris Johnson’s pledge of 20,000 more police officers is welcome. But that only replaces the ones the Tories have already got rid of. The PM must go beyond that to make a meaningful difference to their lives.
Not only do police face the threat of physical violence as part of their day-to-day job, but the Police Federation says officers are also “feeling mentally bruised and battered”.
Politicians expect a lot from those who already give their
all – and it is time they gave something back.
That is why the planned Police Covenant, modelled on the Armed Forces Covenant, must not fail in addressing mental health issues the way our fighting men and women have been let down.
It means more Home Office investment in mental health support, which will be something for Priti Patel to chew over during the holidays.
It means proper mental health training for police chiefs and managers so warning signs can be recognised early.
Cleveland’s appalling record appears to have acted as a wake-up call and officers are getting more support.
That must now be extended to the rest of the country.