CPF weighs in on police suicides

2018-03-27 06:01

The Kensington Community Policing Forum (CPF) plans to call for interventions in preventing suicides among police officers.

This follows three incidents that occurred this year involving officer from different stations, including Kensington.

The incidents include the alleged suicide by sector commander for sector two at Kensington Police Station, Bradley Franks, a double murder-suicide by a Lentegeur police officer who killed his girlfriend and her mother before turning his duty firearm on himself, and an officer from Ocean View who shot and killed his wife and himself.

CPF secretary Cheslyn Steenberg says they understand the difficulties police officers are facing and the daily trauma they face in the line of duty, which to the outsider may not seem to have much impact on the officers’ lives, and not enough is being done to help them deal with those issues.

“As a CPF, we have experienced this with one of our own officers. We therefore understand the hurt and pain caused.

“We therefore call upon our national police and parliament to review the manner in which officers allow their service pistols to be used by off-duty and standby officers. It is also our view that debriefing and trauma counselling must be compulsory.

“We know that these services are readily available from the police force but they are not compulsory. Our men and women in blue suffer from a lot of trauma on a daily basis, which impacts on the lives of these officers.”

Steenberg says they hope to mobilise all CPFs to unite in petitioning the national police and parliament to act on “this countrywide concern”.

He expresses his heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the officers and the victims who recently died in the wake of these incidents.

Kensington police spokesperson, Sergeant Angeline Grill, says the station will look at partnering with the CPFs to run internal projects for the motivation and upliftment of officers.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut, provincial police spokesperson, says several proactive and reactive programmes have been developed in order to support police officials. He says subjects such as relationships, stress management, suicide or murder, bullying in the workplace and other aspects are dealt with by means of these programmes.

“The trauma management programme is extensive, and trauma management within the police force is regulated by policy.

“Social work services have implemented a domestic violence and relationship desk with the aim to proactively, reactively and directly address domestic violence within the organisation­.

“Regular and continuous information via electronic mail and printed media is presented to police officials on suicide prevention and related aspects.

“ Interventions as support are also provided after traumatic incidents or stressful events,” Traut explains.

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