DORSET cops could be suffering from form filling fatigue.

The reason may be behind why less than 15 per cent responded to a health and welfare survey.

County police and crime commissioner Martyn Underhill said it could be partially the reason for the low response, but said that he was concerned about the poor figures.

He told the county police and crime panel that barely a day went by without officers being asked to fill in yet another questionnaire; either from the Home Office, the Police Federation, the unions or, more recently in relation to the now aborted merged with the Devon and Cornwall force.

“The figures are at first glance poor and the force should consider how they might increase the response in the next survey,” said Mr Underhill whose job it is to monitor and scrutinise the police force in the county.

“There is a thing called survey fatigue…I have raised the issue with the Chief Constable and I am concerned at the low response,” he said.

But panel member Cllr Bobbie Dove said perhaps there was another underlying reason – that officers had, over the years, been asked to fill in survey after survey to try and improve services, but little had changed.

“I have spoken to officers who say that after six years nothing has changed, so what’s the point,” she said.

Dorchester councillor Les Fry said he was also concerned by some of the other findings – where 27 per cent of officers said they did not disclose problems they were having because they feared it might affect their career. Another worry, he said, was that 14 per cent who admitted they had a problem went on to claim they were not offered help or support.

Mr Underhill said that statistics also worried him – but he believed the attitudes to sickness, especially mental health issues in the force had improved, especially over the past two years.

“It’s a macho culture and we have tried to change that. It won’t change overnight but we are starting to see change and for people to accept that it’s ok not to be ok. We are getting better but there is still a long way to go.,” he said.