Suicide rates rise among Australian police

More serving Australian police officers are dying by suicide than they did two decades ago.

Some 103 officers took their own lives between 2000 and 2020 with the rate of suicide more than doubling during that period, according to a WA Police Union report released on Monday.

Eighty-three per cent of those who died were male, with an average age of 44 years.

Almost two thirds of those serving officers were ranked sergeant or senior constable (63.8 per cent).

More officers are being exposed to traumatic events now than they did 20 years ago which is contributing to the rising suicide rate, WA Police Union acting president Paul Gale said.

"The leading cause of death for police officers in Australia is no longer criminal gangs in the inner city but rather, the black dog," Mr Gale said in a statement.

"Police agencies in Australia must and can do better to address the scourge of suicide by police officers."

WA police recruits do not receive any mental health training as part of their 28-week program at the Police Academy, Mr Gale said.

"That needs to change," he said. "Stress and trauma can arise on day one of the job, so it's vitally important that police officers are prepared to deal with those challenges."

The union is also pushing for a ban on officers being contacted outside of work unless it's an emergency.

"Something as simple as respecting the personal boundaries of police officers will go a long way to ensure that they are well rested and recharged before duty," Mr Gale said.

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