RAWALPINDI: The Punjab police chief has decided to conduct frequent psychological profiling and drug testing of police personnel and not to offer field assignments to those who are mentally disturbed.
This decision was taken at a meeting, recently chaired by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Inam Ghani and attended by regional, city and district police officers.
Regional Police Officer (RPO) Rawalpindi division Amir Ahmer, CPO Rawalpindi and DPOs of Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal also attended the meeting.
One of the participants told Dawn that the police job was highly stressful and can cause mental health problems.
He said recent incidents of suicide involving police personnel had been reported hence the mental health of personnel must be monitored.
The reason for deteriorating mental health of police personnel could be due to stress on the job, socioeconomic problems and the use of drugs.
“Now, drug tests would also be conducted in addition to psychological tests of mentally disturbed personnel,” he said.
Another senior police officer, who has vast experience of imparting training, revealed that mental health had been emerging as a big issue in the police department which needed to be checked especially among senior officers who themselves are victims.
“Whenever they are being posted, their mental health and aptitude should be examined,” he said, adding: “Since policing is a stressful job, and the aptitude of present-day police has not been to serve people, therefore, the police high-ups should take major decisions after keeping the problems of their subordinates in mind.”
Low-ranking members of staff need treatment because they have been overworked, facing job pressure and lack of sleep and sometimes family issues. But, he said, none of the senior police officers look into their personal problems which also cause their mental illness.
Each police officer has to play the role of a leader, therefore, he or she should look into the problems of their subordinates in order to give them mental relief.
The officer also suggested chalking out capacity-building courses for police personnel on a regular basis and monitor changes in attitude of senior police officers.
Similar exercises had been conducted in 2014 after the assassination of former governor Punjab Salman Taseer in Islamabad by his bodyguard and the killing of two brothers by Muhafiz Squad in Rawalpindi in June 2015.
Earlier in 2014, the then IGP had hired seven female psychologists to assess attitudes of police officers in order to identify whether they were inclined towards violence and extremism.
However, this exercise did not help change the attitude of senior police officers towards their subordinates and the public.
In the latest move, Mr Ghani has directed divisional police chiefs to ensure regular psychological profiling of their subordinates and to refer cases of those declared medically unfit to the medical board.
Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2021