Victoria’s top police officer has described the death of a senior constable by her own hand as a tragedy and says he has commissioned a study of police suicides.
The leading senior constable died at 3pm on Monday at the Seaford Multidisciplinary Centre.
She was aged in her 30s, had children and worked in the sexual offences area.
Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said on Tuesday front-line police do an extremely challenging job in often difficult circumstances.
“I have commissioned a study into police suicides to understand how we can better help our members deal with the challenges and stresses that come with policing,” Mr Ashton said.
The secretary of the Police Association of Victoria said police officers at Seaford found the woman.
“The ripple effect is quite large,” Ron Iddles told reporters on Tuesday.
“There will be many of her colleagues who will be devastated by the fact that they found her.”
Mr Iddles said he had been to “horrific” scenes throughout his career.
“Most of our members each day go and attend something which no other person in society would see,” Mr Iddles said.
“I think some of those things have a lasting effect.”
A survey of Victorian police found most are stressed and anxious, and 68 per cent say they have trouble sleeping.
Mr Iddles said it was time police looked after one another.
“I think in the past there has been a stigma in relation to putting your hand up and saying ‘I’m not coping’, for fear that you might lose your job,” he said.
“I think we’re past that now.”
Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett said emergency workers need help and support.
“We are letting down the very people on whom we rely to give us emergency assistance,” Mr Kennett said.
* 78 per cent of 3500 police surveyed feel stressed or anxious
* 68 per cent have trouble sleeping
* 220 went on long-term sick leave in past 12 months
* Police app being developed to self-diagnose symptoms
* Australia-wide study of police suicides commissioned
SOURCE: Police Association of Victoria
* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.