More police officers show signs of post traumatic stress disorder after dealing with crimes

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The Independent Online
n More police officers are showing signs of post traumatic stress disorder after having to deal with crimes, particularly those involving death and violence, the conference was told.

Officers having to witness post-mortem examinations were suffering long- term effects, partly because they are more thorough and now last up to seven hours rather than about 30 minutes, said Chief Inspector Ian Hogg, of the identification bureau at Strathclyde police, who are doing a study on the issue.

He said in his force, which includes Glasgow, scene-of-crimes officers have to attend several different deaths each week, including murders and car accidents. Some felt like ghouls because people do not understand why they need to photograph bodies.

In one case, an officer had to take four hours to video a dismembered body. Another was still traumatised five years after he went to a house fire in which three children died.

Margaret Mitchell, of the psychology department at Glasgow Caledonian University, who is doing a joint project with Strathclyde police, said: "This important group of people who provide crucial evidence for legal work maybe a happy hunting ground for the creation of post-traumatic stress disorder - clearly there are things that should be done to help them."