New guidance for police on preventing and responding to suicide

First time guidance produced so that officers are given the most up to date knowledge and advice

New police guidance to support officers responding to suicide has been published for consultation today.

It is the first time draft guidance has been produced for the police so that officers are given the most up to date knowledge and advice to both suicide prevention and response.

Published by the professional body for the police, it will assist forces in creating suicide prevention plans such as the process in place at the British Transport Police, which has teams that prevent many deaths every year.

Suicide is often the end point of a complex history of risk factors and distressing events. Most people who choose to end their lives do so for complex reasons. Life events do not necessarily need to be of a serious nature but merely a trigger for emotional or behavioural distress, which can be built from a number of risk factors for suicide in an individual's life.

This guidance has been written with input from Samaritans, British Transport Police and Papyrus, which works in prevention of young suicide.
It will help officers to identify those at risk of suicide, manage risk and assist those bereaved by suicide.
Other areas covered include identifying locations and places that are being repeatedly used for suicide, first response to people who are considering or threatening suicide, risks of suicide as a result of on-line harassment, bullying or trolling; and suicide pacts.

There is an emphasis on police welfare for officers and staff who handle such situations and the guidance says forces should provide access to emotional support via occupational health, staff associations and outside organisations.

Mark Smith, Head of Suicide Prevention and Mental Health at British Transport Police, said: "Protecting life is a key part of policing and we are delighted to have assisted the College of Policing in producing this guidance, which we hope will assist officers across the UK in tackling suicide and helping people in crisis."

The guidance will be out for consultation until 17 August 2016 and you can respond by visiting the Authorised Professional Practice website.

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