SOME OF THE POSSIBLE CAUSES OF THE RISE IN POLICE MURDER SUICIDE IN KENYA

Cases of police officers going off the rail and committing shocking murders and suicides have been rampant in Kenya over the years. Statistics show that this violent acts are linked to unaddressed mental and psychological issues.

SOME OF THE POSSIBLE CAUSES OF THE RISE IN POLICE MURDER SUICIDE IN KENYA
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The rise in police murder-suicide in Kenya is alarmingly high, with the recent case of a police officer stationed at Kabete Police Station, who shot and killed his wife and five other civilians before turning the gun on himself. The Kenyan section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya) and members of the police reform working group have noted with great concern this rise in cases of police officers attacking colleagues and family members and also committing suicide due to unaddressed psychological issues.

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Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatters one’s sense of security, making one feel helpless in a dangerous world. It often leaves one feeling anxious, numb and disconnected.

Traumatic experiences could trigger stress and eventual mental and psychological issues in police officers. Such cases include; living arrangements with different officers and families sharing amenities such as housing, long stays away from home, long working hours, financial distress, actual access to deadly firearms and frustrations against superiors. Officers may suffer silently under bad or unfair superiors because of the real life consequences of reporting them. Such consequences include transfer to hardship areas or career stagnation.

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Another one of the main factors that could be the leading cause of the rise in police murder-suicide in Kenya is what they encounter in the line of duty. Police officers go through processes such as collection of bodies from accident and crime scenes, processing of the scenes and interviewing witnesses and victims. During these instances, police officers have to internalize the fact for the purposes of their reports.

Such factors combined may trigger mental and psychological issues that if not addressed, may lead to violent or erratic behavior and also self destruction among those affected. Attempts to improve living situations and salaries and remunerations of police officers have been underway over the last few years, through the integration program and improved salary. These steps are aimed at completely reducing the rise of such acts.