Police Officer Commits Suicide In His Athi River Home.
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Police Officer Commits Suicide In His Athi River Home.

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The body of Corporal James Kimathi Riungu was found dead in his compound in Athi River Machakos County on Saturday.

He apparently locked himself in his compound and hanged himself in his chicken house. The motive is not known.

The deceased was attached to police headquarters, transport pool section.

The motive for the incident was not immediately known. The body was moved to the mortuary pending autopsy.

Eastern police boss Joseph Ole Napeiyan said they are investigating the incident.

The case follows another suicide of a police officer in Kirinyaga where he also hanged himself in his rental home after he was given permission to go home.

In February this year, another officer was reported to have committed suicide after he burnt all his wife’s clothes. He hanged himself by use of a black shoelace which was tied on the roof truss inside his house.

This case becomes the latest one among many to have been reported and according to research, this is linked to work-related trauma as police are always on the receiving end of all community problems hence the pressure. They are expected to maintain law and order in very difficult situations, besides putting their lives at risk. It further emphasized that police officers are often in touch with extremely painful issues in the community such as murder and rape.

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As part of efforts to address the worrying trend of suicide in the service, police authorities have launched counseling services and the National Police Service Commission has established a unit and staffed it to attend to their demanding situation.

Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome also created a welfare directorate to focus on the issue among others.

The counseling unit will, among other things, evaluate, design, and lead an outreach program that helps prevent mental health and substance abuse.

Further, it will assist clients and families affected by mental health, substance abuse, and trauma with ways of overcoming the problem.

The unit will also participate in the formulation of counseling policies, regulations, and strategies in conformity with the NPS reform agenda and participate in the implementation, interpretation, and review of counseling services, policies, procedures, and systems.

In a study done by the University of Nairobi, a report was issued where findings were that the exposure to suicide risk factors such as occupational factors surrounding law enforcement, especially workplace stress, frustration and helplessness, poor working environment, traumatic incidences, poor pay and access to firearms predisposed law enforcement agents to suicide ideation and suicide. 

 The study recommended an overhaul of the workplace environment in order to ensure that there is a friendly working environment. More so, counseling services should be devolved to the police station as the basic level in order to bring mental health closer to the police officers on the ground where they have a higher likelihood of being exposed to traumatic situations.

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