Critical Incident Follow-ups “Not Necessary” For WA Police Officers


Phil Hickey at Perth Now writes: A motion for mandatory psychological assessments and follow-up assessments six weeks later for officers who attend critical incidents, such as shootings, was passed at the WA Police Union’s annual conference last month. 

However, the WA Police spokeswoman said this is not supported by the “police executive”, made up of deputy and assistant commissioners.

(…) the only follow-up they receive is an email

Currently, officers involved in such incidents are contacted by the WA Police health and safety team and receive support from a union welfare officer.

But the only follow-up they receive is in the form of an email.

“This needs to be more comprehensive and will only be achieved by appropriately resourcing this grossly under-staffed area”, union president George Tilbury said.

“Mandatory mental health assessments would take any stigma out of seeking treatment and ensure a thorough follow up.”

The police spokeswoman said medical evidence suggested compulsory counselling could be counter-productive in the treatment of trauma.

“Forcing officers to undergo counselling when they don’t need it, or want it, can potentially disrupt natural recovery processes,” she said.

Should officers receive more support and mental health assessments following critical incidents?

TBL Editor – what evidence? Is the police spokeswoman an avid reader of medical journals? If so, provide the evidence, or keep quiet.

Only very rarely, it’s beneficial to delay counselling, and only in minor cases. Sometimes, forcing people to talk about things they don’t want to, may cause more harm.

However, in the vast majority of cases, especially where violence or death is involved, counselling and follow ups are of immense benefit to officers involved and indeed should be mandatory.

Comments by Mac Plewa, True Blue Line general editor.

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