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Since 2002 the Police Service has dramatically reduced its sickness absence, by approximately 25%.

This has been achieved mainly - though not exclusively – through improved management of absence and fast tracking those absent back to work. There has not been the same reduction in injury rates over the same period of time, suggesting that there is scope for further reductions through better management of health and safety as part of management practice generally.

The challenge now is for the forces to work together to identify the key causes of sickness absence and the focus on reducing the incidence of injury and ill health by addressing the underlying causes.

The Strategy for Healthy Police 2006-2010 currently being drafted in England and Wales – if accepted – provides the vehicle to achieve this. It will enable the Service to consolidate and build on past achievements and embed a positive culture within every force. Likewise in Scotland with Fit for Duty which sets out the ACPOS strategy in respect of occupational health, health and safety and welfare support.