Officers take 4,000 days off

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STAFF working for Wigan Police Division have taken more than 4,000 days off sick this year.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that 4,675 days – 7.66 days per person – had been lost this year, up until mid-October, as members of the Wigan Division called in sick.

This included 3,346 work days for police officers, 386 days for front desk staff and 944 for PCSOs.

But, according to records held by Greater Manchester Police, the number of sick days taken appears to be falling, from 5,799 days in 2008, to 5,142 last year.

In 2010, an average of almost nine days per person, were lost due to sickness, with police officers taking 3,878 days off, front desk staff having 690 days off and PCSOs accruing 574 days. In 2009, the number of days lost was 5,532, amounting to almost eight-and-a-half days per person. Officers had 3,768 sick days, police staff held 794 days, whilst PCSOs were absent 970 days.

In comparison, 5,799 days – equalling almost eight per member – were taken off in 2008.

This included 3,776 days for police officers, 1,117 for staff and 906 for PCSOs,

In 2008, there were a total of 593 sickness occasions, which included bereavement, depression, unspecified breast symptoms, food poisoning, gout, groin infection, ingrowing toe nail, lumbago, menopause, migraine, mumps, palpitations, a rash, sore throat, stress, and a tumour.

The police recorded 531 illnesses in 2009, including alcoholism, back ache, cataracts, diarrhoea, eye infection, fatigue, gastro-enteritis, a hysterectomy, influenza, ischaemic heart disease and varicose veins.

Last year, there 518 sickness-related incidents. And until mid-October, this year’s sickness records found 360 occasions.

The police could not reveal how much money had been spent on sickness cover.

Beverley Atkinson, human resources manager for GMP’s Wigan Division, said: “The effective management of sickness absence is vital, and we are committed to maximising the health, safety and well-being of all members of staff.”