One in five police workers suffer from PTSD, study finds

A total of 17,000 police workers took part in the study

Thursday, May 9, 2019

An “alarming” amount of UK police officers and staff suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder, a new study suggests.

The UK-wide survey of 17,000 police workers found 90 per cent had been exposed to trauma with one in five reporting experiences of PTSD, nearly five times higher than the wider population.

Further results found by a research team from the University of Cambridge suggested two thirds of those suffering from the disorder were unaware they had it.

Sociologist and research leader Dr Jess Miller said: “For the first time in the UK we can see behind the cultural trope of the burnt-out copper who has seen too much. This is a clinical and public sector crisis.

“Employees have a right to expect resources to protect them from the impact of daily trauma exposure. Without such resources in place, the cost to policing and public safety will just mount up."

Ms Miller added that over half of the respondents said they had insufficient time to process incidents before being sent back out on their next call.

She said: “A stiff upper lip attitude will not work in contemporary policing.

"Without decent interventions and monitoring for trauma impact, and a national conversation involving the Home Office and Department of Health, the alarming levels of PTSD our study has uncovered will stay the same.”

Police Care UK, a charity supporting the police and their families, has called for a national policing mental health strategy to be put in place.

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