Injured officers taken off front-line
NEARLY 100 Suffolk police officers are on full pay for doing backroom work and part-time roles after being injured or sick, it has emerged.The figure, which relates to just over 7% of the force's 1,300 officers, reveals the number currently unfit for frontline duties.
NEARLY 100 Suffolk police officers are on full pay for doing backroom work and part-time roles after being injured or sick, it has emerged.
The figure, which relates to just over 7% of the force's 1,300 officers, reveals the number currently unfit for frontline duties.
Based on an average Suffolk constable's pay of about £28,000 a year, nearly £2.7million is being spent on their combined salaries.
Suffolk police last night said the number of officers on restricted duties demonstrates their desire to get back to work as soon as possible following a lay-off.
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Suffolk Police Federation, the union representing officers, said there were a range of reasons behind the injuries suffered.
These include issues thought to be associated with wearing body armour and utility belts, which include CS Gas spray, handcuffs and batons.
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Phil Smith, secretary of the federation, said: “We've got quite a few officers with back problems. We attribute that to some of the equipment we wear.
”One of the problems we're looking into is the utility belts. There's some train of thought that they are causing back problems, although there is no scientific evidence to back this up at present.”
He added alternative kits are being made available for the constables experiencing such problems.
Out of a total of 96 officers currently on restricted duties in Suffolk, 12 are pregnant, while others are suffering conditions such as stress and knee injuries.
The total presently recuperating in the county's force represents a drop from 124 in September. This included 17 officers working less than their contracted hours and five completing four hours a day.
Nationally, there were more than 8,000 officers on restricted duties, according to figures for September last year.
Mr Smith said Suffolk's overall sickness record is very good - recent figures placed the county second best out of the entire country.
He said: “You can either have people at work, even though they can't function fully, or you can have them sitting at home as a sick statistic.
“We work closely with the force's occupational health department in deciding what is best for the officer.”
He added officers salaries are reduced by half if an officer is off work for six months and completely withdrawn after a year.
Mike Nunn, a spokesman for Suffolk police, said: "The figures are a positive reflection on the force's policy to reintroduce officers back into work following sick leave, illness or maternity leave.
"It is also testament to the positive working environment that officers are keen to return to work. It also shows the dedication of our officers and their desire to return to work.
"Although they may not go straight back to frontline duties, they are able to fulfil roles that are vital to the constabulary.
"Considering the welfare of the individual and also the service for the people of Suffolk is vital in this process."