Belfast Telegraph

Baggott pledge over suicide problem

Police must do more to address the suicide problem in Northern Ireland, the Chief Constable has said.

Matt Baggott said while his officers would strive to tackle the alarming rate of people taking their own lives - more than 300 people killed themselves in the region last year - he said everyone in society had a part to play.

He made the commitment after a visit to Belfast-based suicide prevention charity PIPS 929.

During the tour of the project he discussed training programmes that would help officers deal with people thinking about taking their own lives or with bereaved families.

"Every suicide is a tragedy and with over 300 in Northern Ireland last year alone, it is an issue that needs to be addressed by all of society," said Mr Baggott.

"Policing is about protecting the vulnerable and we as a service have a responsibility to play our part to the fullest.

"The people involved in PIPS have been working tirelessly for a number of years to prevent suicide and support those affected by it.

"The PSNI is dedicated to providing a personal, professional and protective service to the people of Northern Ireland and if by working closely with groups such as PIPS we can save even a single life, our commitment will have been more than worthwhile."

PIPS co-director Philip McTaggart praised the chief constable's attitude: "The police are stepping up to the mark and making suicide their business and pledging do something about it."

Mr McTaggart said more needed to be done to highlight the issue across society - noting that more than six times more people took their own lives than died on the roads.

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