Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Shite Runs Downhill

Found this interesting article stating 1000 police officers off sick with stress Read Here. I know it was last year but still a large number and worthy of note.

Personally my stress never cost the job one measly day, so we can assume that many more are suffering in silence. Until my recent accident I’d never had a day off in 13 years. There is a massive stigma attached to stress, because we are all macho rough sorts. I think there will always be a little label attached to the officer unless the cause is deemed worthy i.e. bereavement etc

Don’t forget all sickness costs officers dear as promotions and transfers to specialised posts have to clear the sick policy first. In my area 18 days in 3 years is the limit, with dispensation given to severe one offs and injuries on duty. I don’t have a problem with it, but only the hard workers drag themselves in.

I don’t know why this number is so high but think the performance culture in the police contributes to it. All Borough commanders compete against each other in certain crime areas. If their crime figures are in the top 3 worst performing than they are summonsed to speak with the greater gods. From experience, I know they’d better be prepared with a plan to reduce things quickly or they are for a rocket. Nothing wrong in this but where does the pressure end up?

I recall when my Division was failing in Burglary. At the time I ran the intelligence unit, writing all the pro-active operations. I was in early doors and looked at the overnights for burglary – the previous 24 hours were bad, something like 14 offences. The Superintendent passed through and picked up the figures grimacing as he read them.

“This is really bad what have we got planned?”

I told him about a forthcoming operation, but we needed to respond now, he states and disappears.

Half an hour later the Detective Chief Inspector pops in.

“I need to speak to you about Burglary, what have we got planned?” He’s none too happy obviously having been spoken to by the Superintendent.

Half an hour after this the Detective Inspector walks in. I knew what was coming.

“Have you seen these burglary figures, what are you doing about it?” I take it he’d seen the DCI. I felt like directing him to his burglary squad so he could ask them what they were doing about it. He probably knew the answer – nothing. I suppose I should have been flattered that he chose to come to me to bail them out again. This really happened and I do not jest.

I only lasted a year in that office before it came too much and I walked. When I look back there was definitely a pattern emerging.

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