Police exhausted by shift patterns

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @BerenCross

CUTBACKS at Wiltshire Police are pushing officers to the limit of their capabilities, with complaints of exhaustion and fatigue on the job triggering a new force-wide survey this week.

Wiltshire Police Federation, the staff association which represents Wiltshire’s rank and file police officers yesterday launched a study into the effects shift working is having on police officers in Wiltshire.

The programme, which is being run by company Third Pillar Of Health, will examine the extent, impact and causes of tiredness and fatigue among officers.

The organisation’s chairman, Mike White, said complaints have been consistently raised by officers for the past two and a half years, since shift patterns were changed by senior officials.

“We are looking at ways we can better manage fatigue of officers,” he said.

“We will consider changing the shift pattern to try and make it less fatiguing.

“There are people saying, ‘we are tired.’ Within Wiltshire the cuts over the last few years has left us trying to get as much as we can out of what we’ve got.

“We had a big re-organisation and changed the shift patterns, which officers raised concerns about.”

The biggest concerns have been raised by response officers, those who are out and about in their vehicles, responding to frequent emergency calls across their area.

Intermediate reviews have been carried out over the period since the cutbacks came in, but no overhauls of the patterns have been put in place.

Mike said the shifts in question, were worked on a five-week pattern, giving officers two weekends off in that period.

One of those weekends off-duty is preceded by a Friday evening shift which finishes at 4am or 5am on a Saturday morning, leaving officers disgruntled and tired.

“It’s not really a weekend off,” said Mike. “This is causing one of the issues, it’s also the officers complaining about the rotation of the pattern.

“An officer might be working a couple of nights followed by a couple of days, and then into day-shifts.

“The evening shifts are also a sticking point, with start times of 6pm and finish times of 3am.”

At least five other police forces across the country, including Hampshire and North Yorkshire, are commissioning Third Pillar to run these fatigue surveys.

Theyi nclude statistical analysis, as well as simple feedback from officers.

The decision to re-organise the shift pattern is one which was seen as necessary and useful at the time it was made, though Mike now accepts things need to change.

“We acknowledge, we accept, we realise and understand we need to have cops on at the right time at the right places,” he said.

“It was a senior command decision and there was a consultation in doing it.

“The change in shift pattern was necessary and was made with the best intention. We are now identifying problems with it.

“Problems have been raised in the past and as of yet we have been unable to bring about any changes which have satisfied the officers working this pattern.”

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:17am Wed 20 Aug 14

house on the hill says...

Cutbacks are everywhere and everyone is exhausted. They knew their jobs would involve shifts before they signed up. I bet there are millions out there in the same situation for one reason or another, it is just the way of today's world and it isn't going to change any time soon.
Cutbacks are everywhere and everyone is exhausted. They knew their jobs would involve shifts before they signed up. I bet there are millions out there in the same situation for one reason or another, it is just the way of today's world and it isn't going to change any time soon. house on the hill
  • Score: -3

8:43am Wed 20 Aug 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

If they are unhappy and tired why don't they try their luck in private security and see for themselves what real work is!
If they are unhappy and tired why don't they try their luck in private security and see for themselves what real work is! A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -6

9:37am Wed 20 Aug 14

mrwoo says...

Most be exhausting sitting in their nice cosy station pigging out on takeaways with the occasional drive into town.
Most be exhausting sitting in their nice cosy station pigging out on takeaways with the occasional drive into town. mrwoo
  • Score: -5

10:10am Wed 20 Aug 14

Alan Bast*rd says...

Truckers hours are worse than this. So are many other on call workers etc. Police have it pretty good, are well paid, decent pensions etc so should be pleased that they have it ok.
Truckers hours are worse than this. So are many other on call workers etc. Police have it pretty good, are well paid, decent pensions etc so should be pleased that they have it ok. Alan Bast*rd
  • Score: -16

2:44pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Chrisg46 says...

A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
If they are unhappy and tired why don't they try their luck in private security and see for themselves what real work is!
Other than hahahahahaha i dont know what to say to the above - Is the troll back hacking peoples accounts?
By private security, do you refer to the security guards who sit watching cctv cameras or making sure properties are locked on time?

As for the other posters (all saying similar things so would not be surprised if there has been some hacking), none of the jobs mentioned involve direct, violent threats to life - not a situation to be faced when utterly fatigued.
[quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: If they are unhappy and tired why don't they try their luck in private security and see for themselves what real work is![/p][/quote]Other than hahahahahaha i dont know what to say to the above - Is the troll back hacking peoples accounts? By private security, do you refer to the security guards who sit watching cctv cameras or making sure properties are locked on time? As for the other posters (all saying similar things so would not be surprised if there has been some hacking), none of the jobs mentioned involve direct, violent threats to life - not a situation to be faced when utterly fatigued. Chrisg46
  • Score: 6

2:53pm Wed 20 Aug 14

zzebedeee says...

Hard to feel sympathy for an organisation that beats people up in cells, fails to caution murder suspects, fails to protect victims of domestic violence, the list goes on. Not exactly a police force to be proud of I'm afraid.
Hard to feel sympathy for an organisation that beats people up in cells, fails to caution murder suspects, fails to protect victims of domestic violence, the list goes on. Not exactly a police force to be proud of I'm afraid. zzebedeee
  • Score: -7

4:14pm Wed 20 Aug 14

cfa says...

zzebedeee wrote:
Hard to feel sympathy for an organisation that beats people up in cells, fails to caution murder suspects, fails to protect victims of domestic violence, the list goes on. Not exactly a police force to be proud of I'm afraid.
www.policememorial.o
rg.uk
[quote][p][bold]zzebedeee[/bold] wrote: Hard to feel sympathy for an organisation that beats people up in cells, fails to caution murder suspects, fails to protect victims of domestic violence, the list goes on. Not exactly a police force to be proud of I'm afraid.[/p][/quote]www.policememorial.o rg.uk cfa
  • Score: 6

5:09pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Wowzimmer says...

It would seem that there are some very sad, angry people out there. Workers from all sectors and industries, whether public or private should be striving for decent working conditions and a proper work/life balance.

I hardly see how keeping a rather horrible sounding shift pattern because some spurious claims that other people work harder is going to make Wiltshire Police a more efficient and effective organisation.

Some commentators have derided the police for making mistakes and yet want to keep them in a fatigued state where mistakes are more likely!

Wiltshire is one of the safest counties in the country. Whether because of or in spite of Wiltshire Police is up to debate. However, I for one would like to congratulate the officers on the hard job they do and their commitment to public service.
It would seem that there are some very sad, angry people out there. Workers from all sectors and industries, whether public or private should be striving for decent working conditions and a proper work/life balance. I hardly see how keeping a rather horrible sounding shift pattern because some spurious claims that other people work harder is going to make Wiltshire Police a more efficient and effective organisation. Some commentators have derided the police for making mistakes and yet want to keep them in a fatigued state where mistakes are more likely! Wiltshire is one of the safest counties in the country. Whether because of or in spite of Wiltshire Police is up to debate. However, I for one would like to congratulate the officers on the hard job they do and their commitment to public service. Wowzimmer
  • Score: 11

9:41pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Wildwestener says...

Wowzimmer wrote:
It would seem that there are some very sad, angry people out there. Workers from all sectors and industries, whether public or private should be striving for decent working conditions and a proper work/life balance.

I hardly see how keeping a rather horrible sounding shift pattern because some spurious claims that other people work harder is going to make Wiltshire Police a more efficient and effective organisation.

Some commentators have derided the police for making mistakes and yet want to keep them in a fatigued state where mistakes are more likely!

Wiltshire is one of the safest counties in the country. Whether because of or in spite of Wiltshire Police is up to debate. However, I for one would like to congratulate the officers on the hard job they do and their commitment to public service.
Well said.
[quote][p][bold]Wowzimmer[/bold] wrote: It would seem that there are some very sad, angry people out there. Workers from all sectors and industries, whether public or private should be striving for decent working conditions and a proper work/life balance. I hardly see how keeping a rather horrible sounding shift pattern because some spurious claims that other people work harder is going to make Wiltshire Police a more efficient and effective organisation. Some commentators have derided the police for making mistakes and yet want to keep them in a fatigued state where mistakes are more likely! Wiltshire is one of the safest counties in the country. Whether because of or in spite of Wiltshire Police is up to debate. However, I for one would like to congratulate the officers on the hard job they do and their commitment to public service.[/p][/quote]Well said. Wildwestener
  • Score: -1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree