Police call for psychological assistance

Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney (file photo)
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By Adia Wynter

Police top brass are calling for psychological help for officers investigating traumatic incidents such as Friday’s brutal murder of Customs inspector Nigel Christian.

Commissioner Atlee Rodney told Observer AM that the killing, coupled with other violence-related incidents reported this year, has put emphasis on the need for psychosocial support within the force.

He explained that the scenes to which he and the officers are exposed tend to be very distressing.

 “This is not the type of thing you want to see, and it can have an impact on you – especially the investigators who have to be in and out of that situation day in and day out,” he said.

Rodney elaborated further on the importance of having mental support available for this line of work.

He said, “I have recognised that it is one of the areas that we lack in Antigua and Barbuda. We don’t have that type of psychological assistance we normally would need based on the traumatic situations that we face every day.”

Following this point, he stated, “I think the time has come, with the amount of incidents that we see, we need that type of help.”

Rodney says that he has been “clamouring” for an adequate psychosocial support system within the police force. “As a matter of fact,” he noted, “I have written a letter to my PS to ask if we can get one specialist assigned to us.”

He added, “I am hoping that the powers that be one day will provide that service to us so that we can have it on a regular basis – not just when you have a special case.”

Rodney also anticipates that Customs officers will be provided with the same support since they too are experiencing distress at Christian’s death.

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