Over the past five years, local and federal police have used stress teams on 1,982 occasions, according to data provided at the request of Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) parliamentarian Franky Demon. According to Demon, this shows that the police are well acquainted with the system. “The stress teams prove their worth every day,” he commented.
The Liège killings, which claimed the lives of two policewomen, show once again how risky the profession is. Police officers are constantly exposed to stressful and traumatizing situations, such as shootings, fatal road accidents and family dramas.
When an officer faces this type of situation, he or she can enlist the help of a stress team, a multidisciplinary team of social workers and psychologists specialized in managing and treating stress. Such teams have intervened in 1,982 cases in the past five years.
Last year 350 cases were treated, 250 for the federal police and 70 for the local police. In 2016, the Brussels attacks had an impact and no fewer than 313 psychological debriefings were conducted following the tragic events. These consultations, aimed at averting long-term psychological problems, must be held within three days of the shock-inducing event.
Last year, there were 153 psychological debriefings.