Police Fatigue And Road Safety

Police officers’ welfare needs to be prioritised to ensure that they aren’t dangerously fatigued when working shifts, the Chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation has said.

Steve Kent was speaking after a survey carried out in the Yorkshire and Humber region found that over half (51.9%) of officers and staff who responded had been involved in a ‘near miss’ incident, such as a kerb strike, lane departure or almost had a collision.

Steve said: “There’s no simple answer to this, other than the fact that we’ve got to be really careful about how many hours we expect our colleagues to work.

“Our officers who are working nights and long hours are at risk of this, but we’ve also got some senior officers who are doing really long hours throughout the week, and they’ve also got to think about their drive home. There’s got to be some element of care there in terms of how many hours they’re doing.

“It’s something that the Federation needs to educate people better on, in terms of fatigue and working time regulations. We need to make sure that our officers are well rested and not doing silly hours.”

Steve added he realised that some officers were currently relying on overtime, as police pay was not enough for them to be able to support themselves and their families. But he said: “There has to be a balance here, and officers have got to be in a fit state to drive home. This is all down to resourcing, whether we’ve got the systems in place to support officers who are tired. There needs to be this fundamental change and shift in the way we look at the welfare of our officers.”