Spy services partner with schools to develop secret agents; mental health absences soar as workforce cut

Long-term mental health absence booms as staff are cut

Long-term absences, particularly for mental health reasons, have increased rapidly among UK police forces over the last five years.

Police workforces fell by around 37,000 over the period but long-term absences of more than 28 or 29 days grew by 2,722. Of these, 1,585 were mental health related.

The Police Federation, which represents middle and lower ranking officers, suggested the growth had occurred because of the cutbacks placing greater stress and demands on those remaining.

Police Federation representative Che Donald told the BBC that it was not suprising sickness had increased as demand on police forces had remained unchanged while “unprecedented cuts to police officer numbers” had taken place.

“This, coupled with a reduction in resources and manpower, can lead to the perfect storm,” he told the BBC.

The figures were obtained from 40 of 46 police forces throughout the UK following Freedom of Information requests by the BBC.

The government denied the cuts were the source of the problem and said it had allocated £10m in 2014 to support emergency services staff.

Recruiting the next Q

Britain’s intelligence service is teaming up with local schools and colleges as part of a recruitment drive to boost national defences against international hackers.

The programme will see technologically savvy recruits working at the National Cyber Security Centre perched over-looking the coastline near Bude in Cornwall.

The base has already recruited 90 people over the last few years and is seeking to expand further.

The head of the centre told ITV News: “We are looking for people with skills in IT and software development, an aptitude for cyber work and an interest in security. You have to be curious, intelligent, alert and interested in what’s going on.”

 

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