Pretoria – Mr Nathi Mthethwa, the South African Police Minister, has expressed concern over rising cases of suicide amongst police officers in the country.

Mthethwa expressed the fears while addressing the first summit on Suicide Prevention held in Pretoria.

He said most of the officers who committed suicide, fall within the age group of 24 to 29.

Mthethwa said a multifaceted approach was urgently required to prevent the trend.

“Predominantly we also discovered that tension in personal relationships, marital problems, infidelity, trauma, depression and mental health issues and poor financial management are the main causes of suicide.

Also speaking, Gen. Riah Phiyega, the National Police Commissioner, said: `As we are gathered here this morning a warrant officer, from Protea Glen, shot himself in front of his family.

“It is one of those things that just reminds you that this is a serious problem that we must talk and do something about.”

She said that in 2009, 73 members of South Africa Police Service (SAPS) committed suicide, while in 2010 the figure rose to 97 but dropped to 85 in 2011.

Phiyega said in 2012, 98 officers took their own lives and as at June 2013, the service had recorded 34 cases.

The commissioner said SAPS hoped to develop a detailed plan to prevent suicide among its officers, which would include early detection of suicidal behaviour. (NAN)

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