Cop suicides down: Minister

By Drum Digital
16 April 2013

Police suicide rates are down, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday.

He said more policemen were asking for help in dealing with the problems they faced, both at work and at home.

The minister said in a parliamentary reply the police were continuously exposed to traumatic and stressful events.

"In many instances such members are not emotionally and psychologically equipped to handle those stressful situations... ."

This frequently had catastrophic effects on their mental health.

Mthethwa said the general welfare and the psychological state of police officers indicated a police service that was fit, except for few individual cases.

He was asked whether recent instances of police brutality could be linked to the general and psychological welfare of the police. The minister said there was a need to have a concerted focus on the police's psychological state.

"However, the violent nature of crime in South Africa and advanced criminal activities and more research needs to be done in addressing police psychological needs in this regard."

Police officials had access to a 24-hour call centre for one-on-one telephone counselling and trauma debriefing.

"Groups are dealt with through group trauma debriefing, team building interventions and organisational diagnosis processes," Mthethwa said.

"But it is my view that we need to look at how we can enhance this programme."

-by Sapa

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