Reporting cases of insomnia, shaking, flash-backs and mood swings, four out of ten police officers have been found to show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a UMons investigation published in Le Soir on Tuesday.
UMons’ forensic psychopathology service questioned 85 police volunteers (77% men) from police districts in Hainaut province or the federal judicial police in Mons, who had an average experience of fifteen or so years of service.
The main causes of trauma were found to be fatal road accidents (22.4%), murders (22.4%) and suicides (8.2%). Terrorist attacks were named in 5% of cases.
This post-traumatic stress is experienced as a heavy weight to carry and deteriorates the quality of work-life of police officers. Despite persistent symptoms and malaise, only one in four of the officers concerned had sought the assistance of a health professional.