Audit reveals heavy psychological burden on Belgian police
Saturday, 16 February 2019
A 2018 internal audit regarding the psycho-social burden on federal police and twelve local police departments has shown that officers are struggling more and more, La Dernière Heure reported on Saturday. Federal police have a heavy psychological burden, with “high stress levels, emotional fatigue, distance, risk of burn-out and excessive behaviour at work. There is now less satisfaction, enthusiasm and fewer officers intend to stay”, the final report says.
48% of officers who were off work during the last year (2,229 of the officers asked) said the reason was at least partly to do with work. “57% of the officers mentioned psychosocial problems, 55% mentioned physical problems and 21% mentioned a work accident”.
The audit also showed that during the last year, 58 officers (1.2%) have thought about committing suicide and intended to do so. On top of that, 26% of the women asked said they had been a victim of sexual harassment over the last six months, compared to 14% of the reference group.
4,846 federal police officers agreed to answer a questionnaire KU Leuven wrote for this risk assessment. It was managed by 26 researchers, which included eight psychologists, ten doctors and three professors. It was directed by the occupational health department.