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Officers sickness - 368/18

Date Responded 09 May 2018

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

1. How many police staff / police officers have taken absence / sick leave due to mental health issues or psychological disorders

2. The number of police staff / police officers who have had contact with the occupational health department as a result of mental health issues or psychological disorders

3. The number of police staff / police officers referred to counselling

4. The number of police staff / police officers medically retired due to mental health issues or psychological disorders

I request that the information is provided as a breakdown per calendar year for the last 5 full years, namely 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. 

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention. 

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the HR Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclose for the following reasons. 

The information requested at points 2 and 3 is not held in a format that would allow its retrieval within the permitted time constraints.  We do not hold this information statistically for all the years specified and to offer a response would entail all officers and staffs personal files to be manually reviewed to establish how many had contact with the occupational health department as a result of mental health issues or psychological disorders, and how many had been referred for counselling.  With around 5000 officer/staff, this cannot be achieved within the permitted 18 hour threshold therefore Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act would apply. This section does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimated that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit of 18 hours, equating to £450.00 

You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for your request. 

Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information below, relative to points 1 and 4 of your request, retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded. I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of your request. 

1.  The following absence categories were included in calculating the number of officers / staff absent as a result of ‘mental health’ issues: 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Drug or alcohol problems (inc. painkillers or tranquilisers)
  • Other mental health (inc. bipolar, schizophrenia, hypomania)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress
  • Stress
  • Bereavement Reaction 

Officers                       Staff

2013                145                              138

2014                180                              111

2015                246                              117

2016                235                              104     

2017                51                                26 

4. Northumbria Police are unable to provide figures detailing how many medical retirements are due to mental health or psychological disorders as this information is not recorded. 

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