The number of sick days taken by West Yorkshire Police officers is on the rise, figures have revealed.

Days lost to sickness among officers in 2013/14, to March 21, stood at 26,838, compared to 25,904 for the previous year and 23,440 for 2011/12.

Civilian staff in the force had 18,966 days off sick in 2013/14, which was well down on the previous year but slightly higher than for 2011/12.

The combined figures – revealed by West Yorkshire Police in response to a Freedom of Information request – showed sickness levels had fallen from 47,361 in 2012/13 to 45,884. But they were 4,000 higher than in 2011/12.

Nick Smart, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said the total sick days for officers worked out at about five per year per officer, which he argued was not excessive.

He said: “West Yorkshire Police has a very robust attendance management programme.

“It is very keen on getting officers back to work as soon as possible.

“Given the nature of the job police officers do, the risks they face and the excessive hours they often work, one day off every two and a bit months, for whatever reason, doesn’t sound a lot.”