POLICE Scotland has lost more than 200,000 working days because of officers suffering from mental ill health, prompting calls for a fresh survey of working conditions.

Official figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats show the country’s single force had lost 201,936 working days since the last survey in the spring of 2015.

Reasons for absence included post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia.

The number of officers absent rose from 768 in 2015/16 to 835 in 2017/2018.

At any one time, around 100 of the force’s 17,000 officers are absent long-term due to mental ill health.

The first survey of Police Scotland officers and civilian staff found a reluctance to discuss mental health issues with managers.

Only 8% felt Police Scotland was genuinely interested in staff wellbeing at all.

At the time, another survey was promised in “the summer of 2017”, before slippin to “the autumn of 2018”.

Police Scotland launched a programme in September 2017 to help officers and staff with their mental and physical wellbeing.

MSP Liam McArthur said the figures revealed the heavy toll of rewarding but often “harrowing” job, and said a new comprehensive staff survey was overdue.

He said: “Officers and staff do an excellent job keeping the public safe but the force is under severe strain.

“It was shocking when the last staff survey found that just 8% of offices and staff believed the service was genuinely interested in their wellbeing. They felt stretched.

“We need to learn whether this has changed, so I urge Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority to start 2019 off right by conducting a long-overdue survey of officers and staff.

“The SNP Government must also recognise that it cannot continue to rely on individuals’ goodwill to paper over the cracks created by their botched centralisation.”

Jude Helliker, director of people and development with Police Scotland, said: "We have implemented a number of wellbeing services for our people, giving them the opportunity to access a wide range of support including counselling and trauma interventions, at the earliest possible opportunity.

"The service works to aid police officers and staff in caring for their mental health. Support is available to those currently absent to prepare for their return to work."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The wellbeing of police officers and staff is of the utmost importance and we welcome the initiatives being undertaken by Police Scotland to support them – something which is an essential element in delivering an effective service to the public.

“The draft budget for policing in 2019/20 will be over £1.2bn, with a 3.7% increase in the SPA’s budget bringing an additional £42.3m to the service.”