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A study into the effects that shift working has on police in Wiltshire was launched by Wiltshire Police Federation -  the staff association that represents rank and file police officers - today.

The programme, which is being run by company Third Pillar of Health Limited, will examine the extent, impact and causes of tiredness and fatigue amongst officers.

Wiltshire Police Federation chairman Mike White said: “Frontline officers are telling us that they are experiencing greater levels of fatigue than ever before.

"The Police Federation acknowledges working shifts is a necessary part of being a police officer but officers are now significantly more night time hours than in the past.

"This is mainly to the increased extension of licensing hours into the early hours.

"The impact that this change in working conditions has had on officer’s wellbeing, performance and decision making needs to be better understood.

"The public rightly expect our officers to act professionally, show good judgement and courtesy and tolerance at all times.

"Research has identified potential consequences of fatigue amongst police officers includes increased likelihood of the use of inappropriate force, impairment of judgement, increased difficulty in dealing with members of the community as well as affecting personal and professional relationships.

"It is in the best interests of officers and the public that we do all we can to minimise the consequences of fatigue amongst police officers.

"It is for these reasons that we, Wiltshire Police Federation have allocated members money to funding this important work."