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Police suicide – the numbers


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This article has been submitted by the blogger Retired and Angry.

Police suicide – the numbers


Date - 22nd June 2019
By - Retired and Angry
4 Comments4 Comments}


I am currently in the middle of replicating Carl Eve’s work and writing to all 43 Forces to ask them how many of their officers had died at their own hands. 

Now I did not anticipate an answer significantly different to Carl’s but I thought I’d give it a go anyway.  As I write I have had a response for approximately one third of the 43 forces. I’ll provide a comprehensive update when I’ve had all of their responses.

It’s no exaggeration to say that I was absolutely gobsmacked to open the most recent email yesterday. 

Just like Carl, every response I have had so far has been a variation on the “we don’t record that information” theme.  But one young lady from a provincial force decided to be more helpful than the rest and provided me details of a web search I could do that might produce some of the information I was looking for.

So off I jolly went to my favourite search engine and searched the website of the Office of National Statistics.

I have no idea where they got their stats from as the police forces tell us “we don’t record that information” but they get it from somewhere.  The Home Office has always told us that ONS is far more accurate than Police Data so here goes (for different time frames unfortunately) I give you the numbers for Police Suicides as presented by ONS:



There you have it. I’ll do my best to bring these figures up to date once all the forces have responded, but don’t hold your breath. Incomplete stats are sometimes better than no stats.

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I think your figures may well mirror what a similar study found in the military.  Suicide rates for Service personnel were not statistically significantly higher than in the general population.  The ONS figures for males 40-44 (2016) was 24 per 100000.  Higher than your figure, but your sample is much smaller than the national one and in any small sample results may easily be skewed.  It is a sad fact of life (please excuse any unintended pun)  that the greatest cause of death in males 18-45 is suicide (after which heart disease starts to catch up) and that demographic includes the majority of police officers, though this does not mean that the organisation cannot and should not do more to help identify and treat mental health issues.  I wish you luck with your quest for data

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