R. Orr1, E. Canetti1, B. Schram1
1Bond University, Tactical Research Unit, Robina, Australia

Background: Policing can be a physically demanding occupation. Mounted police officers can be subject to unique physically demanding tasks, including horse mounted patrols and duties associated with caring for their mounts. The differences in their occupational duties and physical tasks, compared to non-mounted police units, may lead them to present with injuries unique to this sub-group of police officers.

Purpose: To describe policing injuries and identify differences in injury characteristics suffered by non-mounted and mounted  police officers.

Methods: Data from 01 July 2014 to 31 June 2019, were provided from a State policing agency’s incident reporting database. The data reported  the number and rate of injuries and classified the injuries by gender, cause, mechanism, nature, and hours worked. Ethics approval was provided by Bond University Human Research Ethics Committee (BS02126).

Results: A total of 29,243 injuries were reported. Of these, 29,113 (99.5%) injuries were reported by non-mounted police officers. Male officers sustained 76% of non-mounted officer injuries, while 82% of mounted police unit injuries were to female officers. Physical assault was the leading cause of injury for non-mounted police officers (21%), followed by other/unspecified causes (16%) and slips trips and falls (16%). In the mounted unit, other/unspecified causes amounted to 35% of injuries and slip trips and falls to 23%. Repetitive tasks/movements and being struck by an object were prevalent causes of injury in mounted police (10% and 9%, respectively). In non-mounted police officers, the most prevalent mechanisms of injuries were physical assault (21%), other/unspecified (16%), uneven surfaces (5%) and physical exercise (5%). In mounted police, other/unspecified (25%), falls from height (16%), horses (11%) and nature of work (10%) were the most frequent mechanisms of injury. Sprains/strains and bruises and swelling were the leading natures of injuries for both non-mounted (36% and 21%, respectively) and mounted units (44% and 31%, respectively). Most injuries occurred between 8-12.5 hours of a shift for non-mounted units (35%) and within 4 four hours of the shift for mounted units (40%).

Conclusion(s): Mounted police officers, while suffering similar natures of injuries to non-mounted officers, sustain their injuries by different causes and mechanisms.  

Implications: Mounted police warrant unique injury mitigation and return-to-work strategies as their causes and mechanisms of injuries differ from their non-mounted counterparts.

Funding, acknowledgements: NA

Keywords: law enforcement, horse, rehabilitation

Topic: Occupational health & ergonomics

Did this work require ethics approval? Yes
Institution: Bond University
Committee: Bond University Human Research Ethics Committee
Ethics number: BS02126

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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