One in five police officers experiencing PTSD

A study carried out by researchers at the University of Cambridge has found that nearly one in five police officers and staff have a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The survey of nearly 17,000 serving officers and operational staff indicated rates of PTSD were nearly five times higher than that in the wider population, with two thirds of those officers suffering from the disorder currently unaware they had the condition.

Stating that a ‘stiff upper lip attitude’ will not work in contemporary policing, researchers argue that more than half of the survey’s respondents were given insufficient time to process incidents before being sent back out on the next call. The survey found that 90 per cent of police workers had been exposed to trauma.

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

Jess Miller, a sociologist who led the research, 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.

“Dealing with disturbing experiences is a defining part of policing, but 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.”


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