Police chief admits coronavirus lockdown leaves officers exhausted

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Andy Rhodes, Chief Constable of Lancashire Police, said more than half of constables survive on fewer than six hours of sleep a night and feel fatigued.

So far this year, officers have had to deal with BLM protests, Extinction Rebellion marches, anti-lockdown demonstrations and illicit street parties. All have occurred against the backdrop of lockdown regulations.

Mr Rhodes said: “In terms of fatigue, PCs were the worst affected.

“Half had less than six hours of sleep a night. All of them talked about sleep disruption from being on call.

“I believe fatigue is the next big thing after mental health issues and we need to reduce the stigma about fatigue as it is kind of accepted that everyone is exhausted.”

He added that 67 percent of police officers and 50 percent of police staff had reported suffering with some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. He said one in five officers had experienced a complex form of PTSD.

Mr Rhodes said: “On the plus side, 65 percent feel they have enough autonomy to do the job while reflecting their values and beliefs and above 90 percent reported having huge pride in their work.

“People are tired and traumatised, but are very proud. It is the pride that drives us to go above and beyond even when it is hurting us.”

Mr Rhodes warned there is a danger that it was becoming the accepted norm that officers would be constantly exhausted.

Police of all ranks across the country had responded to a welfare survey in which they could report any concerns.

The Police Federation has been investigating fatigue issues.

Belinda Goodwin, federation wellbeing secretary, said: “Fatigue makes it incredibly difficult, and sometimes dangerous, for police or any emergency service workers to carry out their duties.”

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