Home FEATURE STORIES See how and why Police Officers commit suicide in Kenya

See how and why Police Officers commit suicide in Kenya

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According to research done in 2015, the public looks to the police for answers and solutions to problems and to be problem solvers. Rarely does the public realize that the police are humans and that they have issues of their own?

 

Most people like the police; a few individuals loathe the police. A majority of people do not enjoy their encounters with the police.

 

The police are called for service when something bad or catastrophic has occurred, for example, a car accident, burglary, or theft report, and the list goes on. Often when the police are involved, there is some form of negative connotation attached to the situation. Over the past four years alone, the number of police officers who have been reported as having taken their own lives was huge.

 

As revealed on 1st October 2017, an officer killed her lover in Nairobi CBD. A week earlier, an Anti-stock theft unit had blown off his head. Also during that time, an Administration Police officer shot himself dead after a post went viral on Facebook.

 

On 21st June 2018, a police officer committed suicide citing work conditions. There are several other instances where officers shoot colleagues and their families before committing or attempting suicide.

Past, warranting authorities to adopt frantic measures to curb the disastrous trend. In particular, based on statistics regarding suicide cases amongst police officers, more than 200 officers took their lives each year between 2014 and 2020, with more policemen reported as compared to their female counterparts.

 

The trends have not abetted in the recent past either. According to a report of 2021 by Amnesty International, the cases of police suicides accompanied by attacks on colleagues are on the increase at an alarming rate. For Example, in the first 5 days of January 2021, five policeo fficers were reported to have lost their lives in suicide murder situations.

 

These attacks are not limited to colleagues; they are also extended to close family relations. On January 4, 2021, a police officer was reported to have shot himself dead in Garissa. This incident occurred a few hours after a prison warder committed suicide in Mwea after shooting dead another police officer in what was considered a vicious love triangle.

 

The prison warder had found the police officer in the house of a woman with whom he was having an affair. These incidents came after the killing of a female police officer by a colleague during an argument on January 2, 2021, in Kamukunji Police Station in Nairobi.

Another officer was injured during the incident, and the assailant fled the police station carrying an AK47 rifle. The rogue policeman was subsequently hunted down and shot dead by other officers, even though it was officially reported that he had shot himself as they tried to arrest him.

 

Besides, on June 6th, 2021 a junior officer at the Gigiri police station in Westlands sub-county committed suicide while on guard duties at his designated posting at the Amisom offices, nearby the United States of America Embassy. He committed suicide by shooting himself with an AK-47 rifle.

Number of police officers committed suicide and their duties

  • 1172 Senior police officers
  • 3312 Police officers (sergeant and below)
  • 3315 Police community support officers

 

Predictors of Suicides and Homicides amongst Officers in Kenya Police Service

 

A research study conducted by the Addiction Centres in the US showed that more police officers are taking their own lives as compared to those who were killed in their line of duty. The study also found that law enforcement officers are at a greater risk of committing suicide as compared to any other professionals.

The increase in suicide-murder incidents in the police force has raised questions as to the precedents of this development and some of the measures that could be undertaken to reduce the cases and protect lives. This review explores some of the identified predictors that have been associated with suicide-murder incidents in the police service.

 

Kenya police employment is one of the top-rated professions for job stress next to air traffic controllers and dentists. This study seeks to assess the homicide in Security Forces. Since the problem cuts across the forces, the concentration shall be on the Kenya police who have been affected the most.

 

The reports provided by the Kenya police service have key aspects that subjects have exhibited as the cause and the trend of such a vice. Social factors, psychological, policy and constitution have been seen to have been the source as well as the dangers of the problem today. The literature and the police department reports have been the case study.

 

A descriptive survey was adopted because it involved collecting information by administering a questionnaire to a sample of individuals. Due to time factors and the availability of senior officers, some of the questionnaires were distributed virtually using the Survey Monkey platform, which enabled the respondents to access and respond to the questions using their smartphones.

 

The findings of the research show governmental and non-governmental and especially the churches should be at the forefront of bringing solutions to the police force. Better living standards and working conditions, increased personnel, training in stress and anger management as well as necessary counseling skills, and professional ethics can help solve such vices.