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North Yorkshire Police to alter shift system
POLICE chiefs in North Yorkshire are to shake up the shift system for their officers – fewer than two years after a sweeping revamp of work patterns.
North Yorkshire Police carried out radical changes to the shifts worked by officers in 2011 as part of a wider restructuring operation designed to help meet the challenges posed by severe funding cuts.
However, the force says it began reviewing the new way of working last autumn and will now change its shift structure again in April. The new six days on, four days off system is aimed at giving officers and staff who are on call round-the-clock more rest time without having to give them extra holidays.
Assistant chief constable Iain Spittal said the review had also focused on the strain put on North Yorkshire Police’s 24-hour shift workers by “increased fatigue”, while the changes will also be tailored to the demands of community policing.
He said the new arrangements would not signal a return to the force’s pre-2011 shift system.
ACC Spittal said: “The change takes notice of the increased fatigue created by being a twenty-four-hour shift worker and restructuring time away from work for those workers.
“It is important to stress no officers or police staff will get extra time off work. The revised pattern of working simply structures their time away from the work place in a way that is recognised as being more healthy and giving individuals appropriate recovery time before returning to work.
“As any good organisation should do, North Yorkshire Police will continue to review its deployment models to ensure that it delivers the best possible service to the communities it serves.”
Mike Stubbs, deputy secretary of the North Yorkshire Police Federation, welcomed the decision to replace the current system which has been widely reported as unpopular with rank-and-file officers.
He said: “The vast majority of our members work 24/7 shifts and they have broadly welcomed the proposals which recognise the impact a rotating shift pattern has on their health and wellbeing. Any shift pattern which fails to acknowledge that does not serve the public well.
“We were very concerned that the existing pattern wasn’t allowing officers sufficient time to recover between sets of shifts.
“Officers were telling us that it was adversely affecting them. Tired officers can’t do a good job for the public.”