Police officers face a range of risks at work: homicide, assaults, communicable diseases, injuries during car crashes and regular abuse. The risks vary according to the task being undertaken (for example, whether performing traffic duties, attending street disturbances, arresting offenders, guarding prisoners in watchhouses or in hospital, or transporting offenders to court). This paper is based on a comprehensive international literature review of police occupational health and safety, and identifies key risk factors. A subsequent Trends and Issues paper (number 197) focuses on prevention strategies.
This project was funded by the Crime Prevention Branch of the Criminal Justice Division, Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department.