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News

Stress Workshop Tackles Sickness absence in the police

HSE InfoLine : 20 February, 2006  (Company News)
'Stress is the main cause of sickness absence in the public sector,' Geoffrey Podger, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive, will today tell Human Resource Directors in the police service, 'but there is a growing realisation that it can be tackled effectively.'
'Stress is the main cause of sickness absence in the public sector,' Geoffrey Podger, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive, will today tell Human Resource Directors in the police service, 'but there is a growing realisation that it can be tackled effectively.'

The workshop is looking at the underlying causes of stress, and how these can be identified before people's working lives are affected. Representatives of 38 police forces are attending the event.

Geoffrey Podger said: 'It is important that stress is taken seriously across the public sector. I am particularly keen to work closely with key stakeholders such as the police, as I believe this is a very good way of achieving mutual aims.

'Police forces have achieved a great deal in terms of reducing sickness absence in recent years. This workshop aims to give useful information and practical advice based on HSE's Management Standards for stress, a tool designed to help both employers and employees manage the problem sensibly.'

Allyn Thomas, ACPO lead on absence and Assistant Chief Constable of Kent Police, said: 'The police service in England and Wales is committed to working with the Health and Safety Executive to reduce absence. An emerging area of work concerns the impact of stress upon employees. This workshop is an opportunity to consider evidence and best practice and to agree how to make further progress.'

Jan Berry, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: 'Unlike many forms of illness and physical injury, stress is not easily diagnosed or recognised. For those who have not experienced the debilitating nature of the condition, it can be extremely hard to understand. Police officers are trained to cope with a variety of high-pressure situations, but it is important to remember that they are human and that it is the combination of their training and their humanity that enables them to perform effectively. It is vitally important that chief officers do all they can to minimise the impact of stress as much as possible and provide support where necessary, which is why workshops such as these are so important.'
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