Expatica news

Tackling suicide on the force

9 May 2007

BRUSSELS – A total of 244 people working for the police services committed suicide between 1993 and 2006, which comes down to an average of 17.4 each year.

A firearm is used in 75 percent of cases, usually the officer’s service weapon. This emerged from Home Affairs Minister Patrick Dewael’s answer to written questions from Senator Hugo Vandenberghe (Flemish Christian Democrats CD&V).

Dewael says that studies show that the causes for suicide are varied. The negotiating committee for the police services has been investigating the problem of suicide in the police force since the end of 2005.

The committee’s first step is to inventory what is being done in connection with suicide at the different police forces and to gather concrete suggestions for tackling the problem.

Since most police suicides are committed at home, with a service weapon, the cabinet approved a resolution in April banning officers from taking their weapon home. They may only do so temporarily with written permission from their superior. Officers who go to and from work in uniform may also continue to carry their weapon.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news