More Danish police need mental health support

Published 21 December 2023
- By Editorial Staff
The shortening of police training is a possible explanation for the increased number of psychological consultations.

More Danish police officers are receiving psychological help after violent incidents, according to a new report. Since 2021, the number of psychological consultations within the police has increased by 17%.

In the last two years, the number of psychological consultations for police officers has increased from 4,223 to 5,049 so far in 2023, according to a new report from the Danish National Police Board’s psychological service in Denmark. Psychological help is offered when police officers are called to violent incidents such as demonstrations or shootings.

There has also been an increase in so-called “psychological debriefings”, i.e. going through an incident together with a psychologist, for example. These are often extremely violent incidents that need to be worked through with a manager or psychologist. Last year, the number of debriefings reached a record high of 549.

The police psychology service believes the number may have been high because of the mass shooting at Field’s shopping center in Copenhagen.

– If you don’t talk about it, it can remain as fragments of something that doesn’t fit together. It gets stuck in your memory, and then it can interfere and reappear later, psychologist Barbara Jacobi told Danish state broadcaster DR.

Reduced police training

One of the reasons for the increase in calls is speculated to be the reduction of police training to two years and four months in 2017. Adam Diderichsen, a police researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, says it is difficult to learn everything a police officer needs to know in such a short time.

– I’m afraid there are a number of other things that can put pressure on the training, because it has become very short. There is a lot of focus on crisis preparedness, which is good. But there has to be room for a lot of other things they need to be good at, he says.

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