The Inkatha Freedom Party in KwaZulu-Natal calls upon the SAPS management and the Department of Community Safety and Liaison to do more to help police officers contemplating suicide or behaving violently in their personal lives due to work related stress.
“The death of two police officers in what is believed to have been a murder suicide at the KwaDabeka police station, in Durban’s Outer West requires a positive response from police management. Police work can be highly stressful and is one of the few jobs where one continually faces traumatic situations such as murders, violence, traffic accidents and the prospect of serious personal injury. No human being, no matter how healthy, well trained, or well adjusted, is immune to the long-term effects of cumulative stress,” said IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison, Mr Blessed Gwala MPL.
“Predominantly tensions in personal relationships, marital problems, infidelity, trauma, depression and mental health issues and poor financial management are the main drivers of police suicides. We urge SAPS members to pro-actively take responsibility for their personal health and wellness. Commanders must be vigilant in identifying signs of depression and mental strain and take steps to ensure the wellbeing of their members.
If we’re to succeed in our goal of improving the morale and the efficiency of the SAPS department attention must be paid to the mental well-being of police personnel. SAPS must provide the necessary tools and resources to improve the availability and the quality of mental health care of its members. The law enforcement agencies must beef up prevention programmes as we notice troubling spikes in suicides within their ranks,” continued Mr Gwala.
“We believe that special consideration should be given to occupational stress in the police service because the police fulfil an essential role in society and stress potentially undermines the effectiveness and efficiency of the service. Police officers working in a stressful environment may constitute a threat to themselves, their colleagues, and to the public at large.
The IFP challenges the SAPS authorities to provide a detailed plan to prevent suicide among its members which must include the early detection of suicidal behaviour,” concluded Mr Gwala.
Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison
078 290 5842