§ Mr. Kidney
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the rate of staff absences due to sickness for his Department's police for the last three years; and what assessment he has made of the rate relative to that of other public services. 15W
§ Mr. Spellar
Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) sickness figures have been collected in hours since 1 April 1997 in order to give a truer measure of lost output. Since then the figures have been:
Per annum Average number of sickness hours per officer 1997–98 1113.08 1998–99 114.86 1999–2000 120.85 1 The figures for 1997–98 includes civilian staff. The police and civilian support staff figures were collected separately only from 1 April 1998
The figures for 1998–99 and 1999–2000 are equivalent to 14.4 and 15.1 respectively days absence per officer per year. In 1998–99, the last year for which complete figures are available, the average number of working days lost to sickness per Home Department Police Officer in England and Wales was 11.7. It should be noted, however, that comparisons between forces are problematic owing to differences in methods of counting sick absence.
In recognition of the level of sick absence within the MDP, a sickness strategy was put into place early last year aimed at significantly reducing productive hours lost through sickness.