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Tuesday, 7 August, 2001, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
Police force sick leave 'too high'
North Wales Police graphic
Sick leave levels are described as 'unacceptable'
The annual inspection of North Wales Police has revealed that a high rate of sick leave is causing major problems for the service.

The report published on Tuesday shows that on average, support staff take four weeks off every year because of illness - a figure that has risen substantially over the last few years.

bobby on the beat
The report also raised positive aspects about the force

Three years ago, the average number of days taken off by staff because of sickness was 14 days it has now increased to 20.

The report states that the figure is 'unacceptably high' and in a bid to combat the problem, a full-time force doctor has already been appointed.

But the report - which examines the way in which the service is run overall - also praised the forces new paper-free crime recording system a phone-in operation which can be used by the public and officers 24 hours a day.

Disappointment

The survey also noted that the number of complaints against officers had fallen sharply.

But sick leave continues to be a concern and the inspector has suggested that tackling the problem should be a priority.

There was disappointment that the force had failed to complete any 'Best Value' reviews this year although steps have now been taken to remedy the situation.

Crime figures

The report also notes that the force is in a sound financial position, with strong leadership - making it both efficient and effective overall.

According to the most recent statistics, north Wales was the only force area in Wales which had an increase in recorded crime last year.

Home Office figures unveiled last month showed that while the all-Wales figure fell by just over 6.5%, in north Wales it rose by 7%.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Nan Pickering reports
"The inspection suggests tackling the problem should be a priority"
See also:

19 Jul 01 | UK
Violent crime on the rise
19 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Crime figures: In detail and by area
16 Jan 01 | UK
The UK's crime hotspots
25 May 01 | Education
Teachers falling ill for longer
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