Essex Police reforms reversed due to rise in officers' stress-related illness

Neighbourhood Inspector Andy Fusher has welcomed the return to local supervision

Neighbourhood Inspector Andy Fusher has welcomed the return to local supervision

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Epping Forest

Essex Police bosses have been forced into a u-turn after reforms aimed at saving money and improving efficiency made officers more likely to suffer illness.

Figures released yesterday by the force show staff took an average of 12.39 sick days in the 12 months up to April this year, compared to 12.1 the year before and 7.68 in 2009/10.

Essex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Nick Alston said anxiety, stress and depression related leave was an area of specific concern, as it now accounts for the loss of more than three working days per officer.

“This figure is worryingly high,” he said.

“Clearly, the root causes of this increase must be properly understood and managed.”

The biggest increase in the amount of working days lost occurred during a major restructuring of the force, which saw the introduction of more centralised management and the loss of 400 staff.

Former Essex police chief Jim Barker-McCardle led the reforms but his successor, Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh, is now returning operations to local supervision.

Explaining the changes, Epping Forest Neighbourhood Inspector, Andy Fusher, said: “Having sergeants and supervisors managing a workforce they know in circumstances they understand will work a lot better.

“Under the old system some police community support officers never met their supervisor and didn’t feel valued by Essex police but a return to local supervision will improve that.”

He explained previously some teams in the county were given greater responsibility for attending emergency incidents and less of a focus on paperwork, while others took on the extra administration – leading to increased pressure on resources.

For more on this story, see this week's Guardian - out Thursday.

Comments (3)

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3:29pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Villagecranberry says...

The police and Nick Ashton could not run a bath without mucking it up.
The police and Nick Ashton could not run a bath without mucking it up. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -4

4:16pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Stephen Murray says...

I cannot say that I am particularly surprised , these outcomes were raised by us as possible consequences when these plans were presented to us at an Epping Forest District Council Scrutiny meeting some two years ago.

We of course had no powers to alter these reorganisation plans in anyway.

We could only sit , listen and strongly comment as these plans to centralise management and cut staff by 400 were outlined to us.

We now have the almost INEVITABLE CONSEQUENCES.

Loughton Roding Ward Independent Councillor Stephen Murray
I cannot say that I am particularly surprised , these outcomes were raised by us as possible consequences when these plans were presented to us at an Epping Forest District Council Scrutiny meeting some two years ago. We of course had no powers to alter these reorganisation plans in anyway. We could only sit , listen and strongly comment as these plans to centralise management and cut staff by 400 were outlined to us. We now have the almost INEVITABLE CONSEQUENCES. Loughton Roding Ward Independent Councillor Stephen Murray Stephen Murray
  • Score: 7

1:19pm Wed 20 Aug 14

fjl says...

12 days does seem very high. I have been working for 25 years and have not had 12 days off sick in all that time. 12 days PA is crazy. No wonder they feel short staffed. Half of them are never there. You would not be able to get away with that in the private work force. Questions would be asked.
12 days does seem very high. I have been working for 25 years and have not had 12 days off sick in all that time. 12 days PA is crazy. No wonder they feel short staffed. Half of them are never there. You would not be able to get away with that in the private work force. Questions would be asked. fjl
  • Score: -2

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