Minister must do more for cops with PTSD, Ombudsman says

The National Police is not doing enough to help police officers struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is unnecessarily difficult for traumatized officers to get compensation and their reintegration is not handled properly, National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen said in a letter to Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security. He called on the Minister to quickly fix this problem, RTL Nieuws reports

Officers with PTSD can no longer work, or only do adapted light work at the police. Managers and colleagues often do not know how to treat an officer struggling with this disorder. And when officers are ready to reintegrate to normal police work, there are too few possibilities to do so and agreements are not honored. For example, they are immediately scheduled on night shift, while this is contrary to the agreements. 

"PTSD is complicated to recognize, not every traumatic experience leads to it," Van Zutphen said to RTL. "But people who are really struggling must get help. They are often not listened to properly. And it takes too long for the first steps to be taken." Help must go beyond just compensation, he added. "It should not just be a claim issue, as is often the case now. It is a serious condition that can happen to anyone. There is not enough serious attention for this."

The Ombudsman called Minster Grapperhaus to urgently improve care for cops with PTSD. "With the corps leadership there is now the realization that many colleagues need help," Van Zutphen said. "The Minister must now ensure that there is a policy that the police force can use." He advised the Minister to learn from the Defense organization on this front. The PTSD arrangements there are much simpler and the solutions are tailor-made, the Ombudsman said.