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Most Scottish police go to work mentally and physically unwell

Many are turning to booze and drugs

Most police in Scotland go to work mentally and physically unwell and many are turning to alcohol or prescription drugs as a coping mechanism, a study shows.

Researchers found nearly three-quarters of police went to work while physically unwell in the past six months and over a third went while mentally unwell.

The study, reported by the Scottish Sun, suggests one in 10 of Scotland’s 17,000 officers drink alcohol or take prescription drugs as a coping mechanism.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) said the study had also found almost half of officers suffer from exhaustion, one in five experience insomnia and one in 10 were hit by skin condition psoriasis, which can be caused by stress or burnout.

The findings were revealed by the SPF in correspondence with Scottish Liberal Dem leader Willie Rennie, who confronted Nicola Sturgeon in parliament this month with figures showing an 11% rise in mental ill-health sick leave taken by officers.

The study found just under two-thirds of police said force bosses showed “very little concern” for them.

“This new research presents a devastating breakdown of the health of Scotland’s police officers,” said Rennie. “Far too many are exhausted, depressed and being pushed towards alcohol and drugs in order to cope.”

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said: “The wellbeing of our officers and staff is a priority and we have a range of support mechanisms in place. An engagement and wellbeing survey will be carried early next year.”