Reporter 459, 20 November 2000

Psychologist helps Merseyside police with their inquiries

Software developed at the University has helped Merseyside police make efficiency gains amounting to more than £2m over the last three years.

The Merseyside force’s shift review team found that changes to rotas using the Shiftcheck software package have significantly reduced fatigue and other shift-related problems amongst staff.

In parts of the force, absenteeism is down by eight per cent and days lost through sickness by 12 per cent.

Savings were calculated at £1.5m in the first year, £700,000 in the second and £300,000 in the third.

Poorly-planned shift systems can lead to a decrease in motivation and concentration, increased risk of errors and accidents, and high levels of absenteeism and staff turnover.

Shiftcheck is based on research by psychologist Dr Lawrence Smith. The programme analyses the features of a rota, highlights areas that may be disruptive to the worker and the organisation, and suggests improvements.

The Merseyside study also reported improved physical and psychological health and well-being among the officers who took part. They felt less fatigued, showed increased alertness in tests, and reported easier adjustment to periods of night work, and slept more soundly. Caffeine intake and smoking were reduced.

Shiftcheck CD-Rom software is suitable for all industries operating a shift system and particularly for managers with work scheduling, personnel or health and safety responsibilities.

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