'Physical and spiritual' leave for pressured police staff in Lincolnshire

Composite image of Lincolnshire Police officers and vehicles
Image caption The aim of the scheme is to help staff deal with the pressures of policing and to promote wellbeing

Lincolnshire Police officers and staff are to get two extra rest days per year in a bid to improve their "physical, emotional and spiritual welfare".

The force said the move was designed to allow for rest and recuperation.

Chief Constable Bill Skelly said it would also improve levels of resilience across the organisation.

He said the pressures of policing a large rural county meant staff were frequently working long hours, which was taking a toll on them.

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The scheme, which comes into force in April, is "absolutely crucial" to the welfare of staff, Mr Skelly said.

"By encouraging our staff to take time to look after themselves I believe that we can make an improvement to how they feel at work."

He said: "We are under so much strain and so much pressure - and the last five years has seen a reduction in the workforce of up to 20 per cent right across the board.

"We've seen demand rise, and that demand becoming more complex in its nature.

"Having a happy and healthy workforce able to meet those challenges in the best way it can is absolutely crucial," he said.

The cash-strapped force - which claims to be the worst-funded per head of population in the country - said any additional cost would be offset by a reduction in the number of sickness days in the long-term.

As part of the wellbeing programme, the force has also introduced baby boxes for all new parents employed by Lincolnshire Police.

The box contains items such as baby grows and muslins.

Fitness mentors are also being used to help staff.

The Police Federation, which represents rank and file police officers in England and Wale, has published an advice booklet about wellbeing.

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