Police suicide a serious concern

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Portfolio Committee on Police has called on SAPS station and unit commanders to take proactive steps if they see members experiencing wellness challenges.

Family members have a duty to report abnormal behaviour, the Committee said on Monday.

“SAPS members who experience stress due to operational duties and personal challenges should utilise the wellness programmes that are offered by the SAPS. Family members are also urged to report the abnormal behaviour to the supervisors of SAPS members,” Chairperson of the Committee on Police, Francois Beukman said.

The call comes after a second incident in a few weeks where a police officer has killed his partner and committed suicide.

A police officer in Ocean View near Cape Town shot and killed his wife and then turned the gun on himself while they were at a neighbour’s house.

The incident follows the one at Lentegeur near Cape Town where a police officer killed both his girlfriend and her mother, before turning the gun on himself during a hostage situation.

Beukman said that work stress and personal circumstances are normally the drivers of these very tragic incidents.

As such, he said, service firearms should immediately be confiscated if risk factors come to the fore.

Beukman added that the Portfolio Committee will raise the matter today with the National Commissioner of Police, General Khehla Sitole, to ensure that wellness protocols are adhered to and the necessary support is given for SAPS members who experience wellness challenges. – SAnews.gov.za

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