Alarming suicide cases among police officers in Kenya

Jan, 5th 2021 – National Police Service Commission Chairman Eliud Kinuthia has addressed serious concerns arising from suicide among police officers in Kenya. Eliud says the NPSC has tailor-made psychosocial and relationship support for police officers.

This is following the death of a police officer who shot himself dead in Garissa on Monday, just hours after a prison warder committed suicide in Mwea after killing another police officer in a bitter love triangle.

The two incidents follow Saturday night’s incident in Nairobi’s Kamukunji Police Station, where a police officer shot a female colleague dead and injured another during an argument before he fled the station while wielding an AK47 rifle. He was later hunted down and shot dead by colleagues, even though police claimed he shot himself dead.

An attempt by former Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to address the challenges did not yield much, and a report commissioned to establish the cause of the suicide among police officers three years ago was never made public.

Experts have identified that a major contributor of the increased suicide cases among officers is psychological challenges. Police Headquarters has not commented on the increased suicide cases involving police officers.

In 2019, at least 15 officers committed suicide among the chief of police, Charles Owino, explained that, “The availability of firearms and exposure to psychologically adverse incidents are some of the reasons for increased cases of suicide. Again, the police culture does not allow for any physical or psychological weakness.”

He also noted that police officers are forced to work away from home and in remote areas and that requires a lot of sacrifice. he added that, “Police commanders have been advised to closely monitor their juniors, and offer them necessary help when needed.”

In 2019, the police service spokesperson assured Kenyans that some commanders have been trained on emotional intelligence to help them manage their own emotions and those of their juniors.

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