Police Department moots appointing psychologists in force
By Saritha S Balan | ENS | Published: 22nd December 2012 10:13 AM |
In a bold move to make its personnel mentally strong, the Police Department will explore the prospects of appointing psychologists and psychiatrists in the force. The move follows the increase in the number of suicides among the police personnel, presumed to be out of high job stress.
“The stress is so high sometimes and counselling is the best option in such cases,” Director General of Police K S Balasubramanian said.
“As of now, the service of psychologists are confined to the training period of police personnel. But the force lacks a permanent system for counselling as there are no psychologists appointed on a permanent basis. We plan to give a proposal to the government in this regard,” the police chief told Express.
It was on Wednesday that Syam Kumar, a senior civil police officer attached to the DySP office, Attingal, ended his life. It was the third such incident in the district this year. It was said that stomach ailment was the reason for Syam Kumar ending his life. Ajay Kumar, 38, a civil police officer attached to the Sreekaryam police, ended his life owing to some personal problems in February.
In September, an additional sub-inspector hanged himself, presumed to be over the fear of his retirement benefits being suspended, owing to a case.
The figure is not different across the state. According to the statistics with the State Crime Records Bureau, 13 police personnel committed suicide in 2002, while in 2003 it was 14. The figures in the past were 16 in 2004,14 in 2005, 16 in 2006, 18 in 2007, 14 in 2008, 10 in 2009, 9 in 2010 and 4 in 2011.
Long duty hours, pressure from superior officers, work under tough situations and personal problems were pointed out as major reasons for the incidents.
“The stress factor is high for police personnel, especially for those in the rank of Circle Inspector and below, those who directly deal with the people. It is true that the living conditions of cops improved much compared to the past years.
“But the police men have no chance to enjoy holidays or any special occasions with their family. Stress and indefinite duty hours affect their mental health greatly,” said an office-bearer of the police association, who did not want to be identified. His opinion was echoed by Dr Ahalya Sundaram, medical officer of the Special Armed Police.
“The police personnel, especially those who are on station duty, work under stressful conditions. Therefore they are more prone to diseases such as hyper tension. We do recommend counselling for most of them,” she said.