Police receiving more training for suicide response


An increase in suicide callouts for police means they are having to provide extra training for their officers and call centre staff.

In a briefing to new Police Minister Paula Bennett, police identified increases in mental health and suicide callouts as a "challenge".

Assistant Police Commissioner Dave Cliff says suicide callouts have now been on the rise for two decades.

"Police are often first on the scene when people find themselves in difficult situations, which includes mental health and attempted and threatened suicide events," he said.

In response to the increase, police are undertaking more training for frontline officers and those in call centres to ensure they have necessary skills to deal with mental health.

"Police have also undertaken to improve our training for our constabulary and communications centre staff to ensure they understand the complexities involved when receiving and responding to these calls," Assistant Commissioner Cliff said.

Ms Bennett said the Government had already announced more resourcing for police.

"How police respond to incidents and use their resources is a matter for the Police Commissioner," she said.

Ms Bennett acknowledged how challenging mental health callouts could be.

"These are delicate situations which police deal with professionally, alongside a range of other agencies including the Ministry of Health."

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, call:

  •                 Lifeline on 0800 543 354
  •                 Suicide Prevention Helpline on 0508 828 865
  •                 Youthline on 0800 376 633, text 234 between 8am and midnight or email                 talk@youthline.co.nz
  •                 0800 WHATSUP (9428787) children's helpline between 1pm and 10pm                   on weekdays and 3pm to 10pm on weekends; online chat is available                 from 7pm to 10pm each day on the whatsup website.
  •                 Kidsline 24/7 on 0800 543 754 for children aged five to 18. A Kidsline                 buddy will be available between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays.