1493197649598 - Number of police being injured while at work decreasing

Number of police being injured while at work decreasing

Nineteen frontline police staff suffered puncture wounds while on the job in 2016, new figures reveal.

Documents released under the Official Information Act show in 2016, 1765 injuries were reported by police while on the job. 

The most common were muscular injuries, followed by sprain and strains, bruising and grazes. 

Twenty-five officers recorded coming into contact with a disease or bodily fluid.

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Marty Fox, the police national manager for wellness and safety, said the overall injury toll for police was decreasing.

“We don’t accept injuries as a normal thing. We are working on preventive strategies,” he said. 

“Certainly, when people are hurt our main aim is to get them to work again.”

In 2015, 2056 police staff recorded injuries. In 2014, that number was 2225.

In March 2016, four officers were shot in Kawerau after a man opened fire on police from his rural property. 

The following month, Sergeant Jonathan Westrupp threw himself out of the second-storey window of a Porirua house after his work dog was shot and killed. 

Those injuries were on the extreme end of the scale, Fox said, and very infrequent. 

“They certainly did not reflect what I am seeing.

“The front line officers are in a fairly unique environment. They can’t plan their risk. It is not like chopping down a tree – their job is dynamic in nature.”

Despite the number of injuries decreasing, police still lost 53,272 hours to injury in 2016 – slightly more than the 51,683 lost in 2015.  

“The message which has been coming out of senior management, including the commissioner, is in order to keep our communities safe we must keep ourselves safe and well,” Fox said.

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