Stressed police officers are calling in sick twice as much as five years ago.

Essex Police already had one of the highest sickness rates and the numbers are still rising with officers currently taking on average 12.4 sick days a year, according to the latest figures.

More than a quarter of the officers are taking time off because they are stressed, anxious or depressed (Sad).

Mark Smith, chairman of the Essex Police Federation, said: “It is a huge problem and will get worse.

“Rest days and annual leave is being cancelled.

“They keep taking it away which does not help.”

He said cancelling leave to clear backlogs due to a lack of staff are not acceptable and cause more problems in the long term.

Nick Alston, police and crime commissioner for Essex, said: “This figure is worryingly high.

“Clearly the root causes of this increase must be properly understood and managed.”