Bungling Lancashire Police bosses spent more than £500,000 on wellbeing services for stressed-out officers that included trip to holistic therapy centre and use of sports clubs
- It spent £22,800 of taxpayers’ money on wellbeing breaks at St Michael’s Lodge
- The force was accused of making ‘critical errors’ searching for Nicola Bulley
Bungling bosses at Lancashire Police spent more than £500,000 on wellbeing services last year, including 250 countryside retreats for stressed-out officers.
The force has been accused of making ‘basic, critical errors’ while trying to find missing Nicola Bulley, including failing to tape off the scene of her disappearance.
Data shows it spent £22,800 of taxpayers’ money on wellbeing breaks at St Michael’s Lodge, a holistic therapy centre in Lancashire’s picturesque Ribble Valley, during the 2021/22 financial year.
The centre, which claims to be an ‘outstanding centre for both mental and physical wellbeing’, boasts a swimming pool, sauna, hot tub and gym. It also offers Pilates and spinning classes, plus poolside loungers and tranquil gardens.
The two-night stays were part of £546,522 spent on wellbeing services for staff, which included counselling and use of a sports club.
Data shows the force spent £22,800 of taxpayers’ money on wellbeing breaks at St Michael’s Lodge, a holistic therapy centre in Lancashire’s picturesque Ribble Valley (pictured)
The force has been accused of making ‘basic, critical errors’ while trying to find missing Nicola Bulley
Martyn Underhill, a former murder detective and Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, described the budget as ‘surprising’.
He said: ‘Half a million pounds is a lot of money for a force the size of Lancashire to be spending on wellbeing. They haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory in the Nicola Bulley case. In fact, they’ve made some basic, critical errors.’
Last night, it also emerged that Lancashire Police was among the most militant forces nationally for Covid lockdown fines – issuing 30.9 tickets per 10,000 people, compared with 21 per 10,000 nationally.
It was also the force that fined Rishi Sunak after the Prime Minister appeared in a social-media clip not wearing a seatbelt last month.
However, it has come in for criticism over its handling of Nicola’s case, and for revealing publicly that she has struggled with the menopause and alcohol issues.
Mr Underhill added: ‘There are seven scenarios why Nicola could be missing, but Lancashire Police shut six of them down very quickly, saying they were sure she’d fallen in the river – which is very odd.
‘They’ve finally agreed to do an internal review, but they’ll just be marking their own homework.
‘They now need to get a bigger, more experienced force like Manchester to help plug the gaps that have apparently appeared in this case. It is causing a lot of damage to policing confidence nationally.’
Martyn Underhill, a former murder detective and Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, described the budget as ‘surprising’
Jo Maugham, of the Good Law Project, a not-for-profit campaign group, added: ‘What Nicola’s kids need is for the police to spend less time on victim-blaming and more time finding their mum.’
Lancashire’s expenditure was revealed by a Freedom of Information request, with the force saying it is important to help officers ‘relax, unwind and decompress’.
It said: ‘Policing is an inherently risky and stressful occupation, and evidence suggests that individuals can face periods of acute stress.
‘The purpose is to support colleagues through an overnight break away from their usual routine to spend time focusing on themselves and prevent them from reaching the point where they become ill.’
Officers and staff were able to apply for the retreat if they had been injured on duty, involved in a traumatic work incident, or been exposed to highly sensitive and distressing information regularly.
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