Three police officers committed suicide in recent days: two on Sunday in the metropolitan area and one on Monday in Rivera. The director of Coexistence and Citizen Security, Santiago González, was consulted in this regard at a press conference. “We have a problem as a society, it is not a problem of the Police”, assured.
Gonzalez IThen he contacted the police union to clarify that he had not wanted to underestimate the effort they are making to combat suicide in force, as told to The ObserverPatricia Rodríguez, president of the Union of Police Officials of Montevideo (Sifpom).
“The percentage of suicides of police officers is not higher than that of a municipal worker or a banker”said the head of the Ministry of the Interior. “It is a serious Uruguayan problem, that clearly the silence and the lack of information did not help to reduce it historically,” he pointed out.
The president of Sifpom indicated that he does not know “in which ministry or which workplace three people are killed in a period that does not reach 48 hours”. “It’s an alarming sign,” she summed up.
“It is an issue that is being addressed, which is not elusive to us —assured the head of the ministry— that we are concerned as we are concerned in other areas of society,” González continued. “In the Ministry of the Interior there is work with the Police Hospital also for monitoring,” said the director of Coexistence and Citizen security.
From the union they point out that many police officers prefer not to access the Temporary Insurance for Partial Disability (STIP), because they lose part of their salary. This problem becomes more serious with the new social security reform, according to the president of Sifpom. So far, cWhen an official is under this regime, the subsidy is 65% of his salary. The change that arises in the law is that the subsidy is from 45%.
Rodriguez told The Observer that they raised with the ministry the problem that police officers, who should be insured due to mental health problems, are still on the streets. Instead, Gonzalez He said he “doesn’t know”. “It is very difficult for us to know something that is not said. Nor I know that there are people who are incapacitated by illness, or depression, or something similar. But maybe there are. As soon as they don’t consult, as soon as they don’t come close…”, declared the hierarch this Monday.
The president of the union pointed out that “many times the official does not consult, he prefers to stay sick going to work so as not to have on top of the illness the economic problems that come with the consultation that you can end up with a medical report“.
“The aid given by the ministry often involves more problems than the solution, because if you end up unarmed you cannot do 222 or you are transferred to STIP and you end up with 65% of your salary, on top of the disease you will have an economic problem“, he remarked.
Although González contacted the union to clarify his statements, the president of Sifpom said that he is not the one who put the portfolio to speak with them, but rather are other advisers and the general director Nicolás Martinelli (who replaced Luis Calabria in September). According to Rodríguez, the ministry’s advisers have shown no initiative to deal with the problem of police suicide, but instead “continue to delay the issue.”