Police officers who were absent from work due to illness, cost taxpayers R1,148 billion. This is an increase of 42% from the previous year (2012). A total of 1,8 million (1 789 223) working days were lost through this. The total number of workers who took sick leave is 159 082. This is according to the annual report of the Police in the period from January 2013 to December 2013. Sick leave alone amounted to R1,004 billion and permanent or temporary disability leave amounted to R144 533 million. The category, in which the majority of absences as a result of illness occurred, was for the educated members (levels 3-5) and the second most occurred in the highly educated category (levels 6-8). Educated members totalled 791 099 days of absence and highly educated members 621 430 days.
“What is really very worrying is that nearly 80% of the total number of police officers had taken sick leave (159 082 from a total of 200 000 members). It is clear that the Police have a health problem.
“The 42% increase in sick leave and the fact that highly educated and educated members take the most sick leave, is also worrying. This category of members forms the core of the Police Service which has to investigate crime. The figures indicate that there is a serious problem that show that police officers in this categories are either over-worked or under too much pressure and stress. Part of this stress and tension is that some of these members are not properly trained for the duties that they have to perform,” Dr. Pieter Groenewald, the chief spokesperson on Police for the Freedom Front Plus says.
“This problem increases annually and according to annual reports, nearly 50% of the total number of police members took sick leave in 2010 and this has now changed to 80%. There will have to be a serious investigation into this matter and the police commissioner, Gen. Riah Phiyega, will have to explain how this problem will be addressed and resolved,” Groenewald said.
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