Policing is “challenging, demanding and takes its toll”, Staffordshire Police Federation has said after it emerged in a poll that nearly half of officers said they do not get enough sleep.

The first ever national police wellbeing survey – of 35,000 police officers and staff by Oscar Kilo - has revealed high levels of fatigue among police officers and staff, with almost half of respondents saying they frequently get fewer than the recommended eight hours of sleep.

The survey showed that 45% of officers frequently get fewer than six hours of sleep, with shift workers more likely to experience poor sleep quality and report lower levels of emotional energy and job satisfaction.

The survey ran for eight weeks between November 2019 and January 2020.

Phil Jones, Federation Chair, said: “It comes as no surprise that the first national police wellbeing survey has revealed high levels of fatigue amongst police officers and staff. It also speaks volumes that 35,000 colleagues took part in the survey.

“Policing as I’ve said many times, is challenging, demanding and takes its toll on officers. This is reinforced by 24% increase in assaults on police officers over the last four weeks. The survey reveals that over 45% of officers and staff frequently get less that six hours’ sleep, with shift workers more likely to experience poor sleep quality and report lower levels of emotional energy and job satisfaction.”

49% of police officers reported having had two or more rest days cancelled in the past 12 months, with 17% reporting four or more rest day cancellations. The findings highlighted a clear association between the cancellation of rest days and a reduction in wellbeing for both police officers and police staff, with increased cancellation of rest days resulting in progressively adverse impact on wellbeing, Phil said.

He added: “Every day my colleagues make critical decisions that are often subject to public scrutiny. They need sufficient rest in order to make these decisions effectively. In Staffordshire the welfare and wellbeing of our members is at the heart of everything we do and I shall continue to work closely with the force. Officers do have support through the Federation Welfare Support Programme, force Occupational Health and as a local federation, we are available should officers need us.”

Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, NPCC Wellbeing Lead and Service Director for Oscar Kilo, said: “Fatigue leaps off the page, and this has a lot to do with our cultural acceptance in relation to things like disrupted sleep and all the risks it can bring to our health and operational decision making.”

He said Oscar Kilo was “linking in with staff associations, wellbeing leads across the UK and experts from around the world to establish a specific area of work on fatigue as part of the national programme to ensure we address this”.