Psychologists have asked police authorities to consider having a professional counsellor at every police station to help officers who undergo a lot of stress.
Psychologists want officers to have counseling services at their disposal, and routine check ups to ascertain their level of mental health.
Several human rights reports have pinned police for human rights abuse in the country. Psychologists say this could be as a result of mental illness that forces some officers under stress to act against the law or rights of people they are handling.
Psychologists have therefore asked the police authority to consider employing a professional counsellor at every police station.
The suggestion was made during a psychological check up of traffic police officers from Kampala metropolitan area. The exercise was led by Professor Edward Bantu of Makerere School of Psychology.
He said his team had carried out the same exercise with members of the Uganda People’s Defence Force.
In the police, the pyschologists started out with officers from the fire and rescue services directorate, VIP protection, field force unit that handles riotous situations and traffic.
Professor Edward Bantu noted that the welfare unit at police headquarters is understaffed with one qualified counsellor. The counsellor works in collaboration with a few para-counsellors who are not enough to provide adequate service to the hundreds of officers.
Police officers who need long term specialized attention are referred to seek services of counsellors not affiliated to the force who require payment.
The team noted that many police personnel report work and family related problems like child neglect and abuse, domestic violence, drug abuse challenges to the welfare department.
From Kampala Metropolitan Area, the exercise will be extended to other districts.
Edited by David Tumusiime