35 years of policing lost to mental illness in Derry area over past five years

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Thirty-five years of frontline policing were lost in the wider Derry area over the past five years due to sickness absence arising from mental health or psychological problems, it’s been revealed.

Figures released by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) show that in the old G District area, which covered Derry, Limavady, Strabane and Magherafelt, there were 161 occurrences of ‘psychological absence’ among local front line police officers between 2012 and 2016

A considerable 12,948 working days were lost as a result of these occurences throughout the local policing district.

Police said the absences were sparked by a range of conditions including, anxiety, depression and drug or alcohol problems. Other mental disorders, stress and post-traumatic stress disorder were also listed as possible contributory factors.

Across the entire police service in the North, a subtantial four hundred and seventy eight calendar years were lost due to mental health issues during the same five year period.

The local police ‘union’ - the Northern Ireland Policing Federation (NIPF) - has repeatedly called for greater resources to be directed at helping officers coping with psychological illnesses within the PSNI. Chair, Mark Lindsay, has warned support for officers facing the often “intolerable pressures of a demanding and heavily scrutinised job” needs to be prioritised.