Older female officers experiencing the menopause could end up feeling isolated in the service if it does not get to grips with the issue.
Forces need to be prepared to deal with the impact of female officers going through the menopause with an increasingly ageing workforce, according to a senior officer leading on the subject.
Last month’s meeting of the Police Federation’s national women’s reserve heard from the Police Menopause Action Group (MAG) with Inspector Kirsty Jennett, from Merseyside Police, speaking of the group’s aims to set the national direction, strategy and learning for managing issues involving the menopause within the police service. With an ever-ageing workforce, this is an occupational health issue that is growing in importance, she said.
Dee Collins, temporary chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, and chair of MAG, has the concern that without a cohesive approach to awareness, training and development of practice and policy, both locally and nationally, many colleagues might be left feeling “isolated and vulnerable” at a time when they most need support.
The average age that women in the UK reach the menopause is 52, and this can lead to a host of health issues which could potentially lead to performance and disciplinary sanctions due to a perceived lack of capability, according to MAG.
Under continual pressure
Carolyn Davies, chair of the national women’s reserve meeting, said: “Police officers are under continual pressure as a direct result of austerity measures. Officers are now having to stay in service longer, which means this is an issue that must be taken seriously – now more than ever.”
MAG is making significant progress to increase awareness of the menopause, the issues women face and the support available to them.
The group is working with the Police Federation, other staff associations and medical experts to support colleagues, increase the productivity and develop further understanding of reasonable adjustments in the workplace.
Officers can share experiences and best practice via POLKA (Police Online Knowledge Area).
Information and advice regarding health and wellbeing can also be accessed here.