Valley police back sick leave inquiry
By ADRIAN MILLER
CLARENCE Valley police have welcomed a move by NSW Police Minister Carl Scully to reopen a ministerial inquiry into the long-term sick of NSW police officers.
Coffs/Clarence local area commander superintendent Paul Fehon said the inquiry would benefit officers in the Valley.
"Anything that assists in managing the long-term sick is a welcome move, especially for the Coffs/Clarence local area command," he said.
Mr Scully said the inquiry would be opened because the numbers of police officers forced off work due to long-term sickness had increased by more than 100 in the past year. He said a previous inquiry had been successful in reducing police off sick.
According to the latest figures, the Coffs/Clarence local area command had 12 officers on sick leave.
Supt Fehon said with the Coffs/Clarence having a high number of officers off because of illness, the inquiry would form part of the support network for sick officers.
"Our officers are now better protected and have better access to support programs and we are working to assist our officers to return to work after they've received suitable medical support," he said.
"This includes dedicated police psychologists and external providers. They can (also) have referals to psychiatrists in certain fields depending on the nature of the illness."
Mr Scully also announced the creation of a specialist unit to oversee the the management of officers off sick.