Hundreds of Derbyshire police officers and staff are currently either off work ill or self-isolating due to Covid-19.
Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire’s police and crime commissioner, says that seven per cent of the 3,800 strong force is currently off sick or self-isolating – around 266 employees, as of November 2.
He says this is a lot fewer than in March, when the force had 20 per cent of all of its staff either self-isolating, shielding or down with the virus – around 760 staff.
It is believed the majority of staff out of the office or away from usual duties are working from home with Mr Dhindsa saying early this year this was the case in March.
Mr Dhindsa says the force has clocked 80 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among its workforce since March – but with the vast majority of these (64) occurring since October.
Meanwhile, Mr Dhindsa says that the number of police employees currently directly affected by the virus (266) has doubled in the past month.
He says: “We expect this to continue to increase with further cases of coronavirus, self-isolation, and a return to shielding our most vulnerable colleagues through the second lockdown period.
“The weekly rate of increase throughout October has been accelerating despite the use of personal protective equipment, and us having a “covid secure” workplace.”
He also says: “20 per cent absence was only manageable in March because the country was in complete lockdown; the impact of the second lockdown remains to be seen but we are planning accordingly to ensure that we are able to maintain core policing services.
“We have a tired workforce, one that has dealt with significant demand since March, and that is as susceptible to the coronavirus as the general public, if not more so.
“As such, overtime is extremely hard to fill – the force already use overtime to provide cover for general policing duties.”
Mr Dhindsa says that Derbyshire is getting £424,000 in extra funding to provide “dedicated visible Coronavirus enforcement resources” for the next four months.
However, in a report to Derbyshire County Council, he says: “We have the same number of officers to provide this response, meaning that the spending will predominantly be through overtime.”
He said domestic abuse and incidents relating to breaches of the Coronavirus Act account for around 20 per cent (one in five) of the force’s callouts, followed by vulnerability and mental health on 10 per cent.