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Johannesburg - The number of suicides among police officers paint a bleak picture, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday.
"Our figures indicate that... from January to June 2013 the figure stands at 34. This is a very bleak picture to say the least," Mthethwa said in a speech prepared for delivery at a suicide prevention summit in Pretoria.
Mthethwa said the number had forced the police to examine the systems to deal with police trauma.
"Our analysis indicates that the trends in the commission of such suicides include (the use of) a service firearm, hanging, and overdose by tablets," he said.
Poor financial management, personal trauma, and mental health issues were among the leading causes of suicides.
"When horrible road accidents happen and many innocent lives are lost... police have to cordon off such gory scenes. Some of the scenes are so gory we cannot even start describing them here."
Mthethwa said society had to acknowledge the difficult conditions under which officers worked.
"In many instances they are not emotionally and psychologically equipped to handle those stressful situations, which frequently leads to a catastrophic impact on their mental wellness."
According to the statistics, 73 officers committed suicide in 2009, 97 in 2010, 85 in 2011, and 98 in 2012.
Mthethwa urged officers to seek professional counselling and support services, which were freely available to them.