Effect of Shiftwork System on Police Officers in Palestine

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Hinno, Basala
Odwan, Emad
AL-Azzeh, Ghayda
Shunnar, Mustafa
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Due to high demands and the need for around the clock essential services, shiftwork has become the standard practice in many private and public service sectors including the police force. The inherit need for police services at all times to ensure the safety of the public has dictated long-term and rotating shifts schedules. However, shiftwork can have significant social, psychological and health impacts such as fatigue, insomnia, stress, and substance abuse as well as workplace performance problems. Hypotheses were formulated per the effects of shiftwork inferred from literature. This project explored those hypotheses in the Palestinian police departments by conducting a comprehensive study encompassing 810 police officers from 6 department in the West Bank using a questionnaire and statistical analysis tools (minitab®). Answers were rated on Likert scale; qualitative questions and in-person interviews were also conducted as part of the survey. 92% of the participants were male, and 95% were between the age of 30 and 50 years old. The results of the research suggest that shiftwork at police department can adversely impact sleep quality, increase levels of stress and anxiety, contribute to work-family conflict and increase the risk of consuming caffeinated drinks and smoking (α = 0.05). However, shiftwork impacts on the physical health and the tendency of officers to quit their jobs were statically insignificant. The results suggest that the social and psychological impacts are most visible among Palestinian police officers. Workplace factors were also found to have an impact on shiftworkers; it was found that respondents had a strong preference toward a more equal, inclusive, and modernized workplace. Flexibility in work schedules was also found to decrease the impact of shiftwork on police officers. Based on the finding of the study, suggestions were made to educate the police, public, and government about the risks of shiftwork and improve the well-being of officers working shifts.