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New police programme to tackle officer suicides

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The National Police Service (NPS) has launched a counselling programme to help officers deal with depression and contain increasing cases of suicides.

The programme will first be rolled out in Nairobi County before being spread across the country.

According to Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai, NPS had established Service Counselling and Rehabilitation Centre to address psycho-social problems affecting its members.

He urged police officers to seek for help when faced with stressed rather than committing suicides.

“Talk to your friends, colleagues, relatives and anyone that can help solve an issue that may be disturbing you. Male officers are the most affected because they don’t talk. They need to open up,” he said.

This comes after a study was conducted by the NPS to establish the possible causes of suicide among police officers.

{ Read: Police reforms IG Mutyambai will implement }

National Police Service Commission CEO Joe Onyango said they were keen to understand causes of stress that drove officers to suicide.

“Among other things, we will focus on what should be done before police officers are transferred to hotspots and see the interventions we can make before officers are integrated with their colleagues,” he said.

Suicide cases in the country have been linked to depression, a mental health issue that is treatable through professional counselling and medication in extreme cases.

However, there have been raising cases on police offices taking their own lives in the media bringing sharp focus on the state of mental health of the officers.

Harsh working environment, being overworked and underpaid and unappreciated police services have been mentioned before as factors in depressed officers.

Moreover, handling of crime cases such as murder, rape, suicide, defilement, robbery with violence on a daily basis also contribute to the mental state of police officers.

In 2016, the police authorities received a report on the causes of shootings by police officers targeting their colleagues.

{ See Also: Police chief moves to rein in rogue VIP drivers }

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Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]
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