Essex police tell of stress and need for more recruits in order to fight crime

Police in Essex have voiced concerns over the number of officers the force has at present Picture: S

Police in Essex have voiced concerns over the number of officers the force has at present Picture: SIMON PARKER

There are not enough cops in Essex to do the job of protecting the public and catching criminals, according to the police officers themselves.

New figures revealed 85% of police officers who responded to a demand and welfare survey from the Police Federation believe they do not have enough colleagues to do the job properly.

The survey found officer shortages, stress and mental health problems and grievances over pay are just some of the problems plaguing Essex Police.

A total of 79% claimed to have experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety, or other difficulties, although 71% said the force encourages staff to talk openly about mental health – compared to 45%.

Steve Taylor, chairman of the Essex Police federation, said: “Policing can be a very stressful role dealing with at times challenging and volatile individuals.

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“Our ability to reduce this stress is limited but what we can control more are environmental stressors such as working environment – when was the last time the office had a lick of paint? When was the last time somebody took your picture or complained about you simply eating your lunch in public?

“What about the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) taking over three years to investigate you? What about somebody thinking you getting punched in the face is ‘just part of the job’? The wider community can help reduce some of these stressors.

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“I think the survey shows we are well above the national average when it comes to mental health being taken seriously, and this is to the force’s credit.”

Richard Leicester, director of human resources at Kent Police and Essex Police, said: “Listening to and learning from our officers and staff members is a crucial part of improving how the force works and, although these issues are not unique to Essex Police, we continue to work with the Police Federation, Unison, the Staff Support Association and the Police Superintendents’ Association to ensure that our force continues to be a pleasant and supportive environment in which our officers can learn and work.”

Last month Essex’s police and crime commissioner, Roger Hirst, announced he would raise the police’s slice of council tax by £24 in an effort to recruit 215 officers.

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