Ministry Steps up Effort to Reduce Stress Levels of Police Members


The Ministry of National Security has stepped up its effort to reduce stress levels and attend to the physical and psychological well being of police men and women. In this regard, a 24-hour counselling help line for police officers was established on Monday, June 11.
This was noted by Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, during his contribution to the 2007/08 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (June 13).
He said the Ministry has also established a medical branch for the force and appointed a consultant psychologist whose services were available to officers.
Dr. Phillips pointed out that the facilities were set up to support officers, describing their work as “difficult.” “We require the men and women to stand on the front line between us and the criminals. We require them to be resolute and exemplary in the face of provocation, abuse and attack. And too often we require of them behaviour and standards which we ourselves fail to observe,” he said.
The Minister said the government was taking steps toward reducing work hours, a situation which puts additional pressure on police men and women.
Pointing to the repercussions of some officers having to work “upwards of 70 hours per week,” he cautioned that this stress must be removed. “When the pressure boils over, it often results in self-destructive behaviours, including violence towards others and to themselves,” Dr. Phillips said.
He reminded the House of government’s intention to implement national work rules for the police force. “Discussions have already begun with the Executive of the Jamaica Police Federation and we intend to conclude them speedily,” he informed.
The Minister added that steps to reduce work hours for individual officers would entail, among other things, “increased recruitment; more rapid civilianization of tasks within the force, which don’t require police officers for their performance; more effective supervision; and more effective use of technologies.”
With regard to remuneration, Dr. Phillips endorsed service-based pay for officers at any rank, noting that this should accrue from “long service and efficient and competent performance,” and not just promotion.

JIS Social