New data has revealed that Essex Police employees took a combined total of 2,395 days off work due to illness last year, with a recent surge in stress levels singled out as a major cause.

According to the Basildon Reporter, figures obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request showed 82 officers took time off due to work-related anxiety and the Essex Police Federation (EPF) accused the force of poor administration.

"Some of the stress is brought on by bad management and some by actual experiences that police officers go through," EPF secretary Roy Scanes explained. "At some stage you can only take so much and the body breaks down as a defence."

The figure has increased sharply since 2005 – when 1,207 days were lost – and Essex Police is currently faced with having to make spending cuts of £50 million, which Mr Scanes claimed could leave the organisation with between 200 and 400 fewer officers.

Last week, Durham Police confirmed it was axing 86 civilian posts, after warning 1,160 members of staff they could be made redundant.

Posted by Ross George