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Police murder-suicides back on Parliament's agenda

Police murder-suicides back on Parliament's agenda

The Portfolio Committee on Police has decided to intervene again, as another officer killed himself after killing his partner this month.

The Ocean View suicide comes just weeks after the Lentegeur incident. Perhaps it is just a coincidence that both murder-suicides took place in the Western Cape, but there is clearly a need to examine the workload and environments of officers in that region.

Portfolio Chair, Francois Beukman, believes there is a national discussion to be had though.

"The Portfolio Committee has noted with shock the second incident in a few weeks where a police officer has killed his partner and committed suicide," said Beukman on Monday.

"SAPS members who experience stress due to operational duties and personal challenges should utilise the wellness programmes that are offered by the SAPS. Family members are also urged to report abnormal behaviour to the supervisors of SAPS members," added Beukman.

The onus is also on all stakeholders to play their part, not only to save lives but to protect officers who show signs they are not coping with the stress that comes with the territory in this line of work.

"Station and unit commanders should also take proactive steps if they see members are not well. Family members have a duty to report abnormal behaviour.

"Service firearms should immediately be confiscated if risk factors come to the fore. The Portfolio Committee on Police will raise the matter tomorrow with the National Commissioner on Police to ensure that wellness protocols are adhered to and the necessary support is given for SAPS members who experience wellness challenges."

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