Three riot police officers, a police commander and a police academy teacher are among eight French police officers who have killed themselves recently. That makes 64 so far this year, and the number just keeps on climbing. The latest death came Wednesday in the Ardeche region in southeast France.
According to the Interior Ministry’s numbers, 68 officers took their own lives in 2018. A Senate report last year said the French police suicide rate was 36% higher than the rate for France’s general population, but also uncovered no single reason behind the suicides.
France’s national police have long complained about being overworked, underappreciated and underpaid, and have tried to press their cause in the past to no avail. In addition to months of yellow vest protests, the police were called upon for extra shifts and duties following a deadly attack in December near the Strasbourg Christmas market, which led to increased surveillance around France.
During the yellow vest protests, a group of French police, calling themselves “les Gyros Blues,” or “the blue lights,” had launched a call for demonstrations against French President Emmanuel Macron’s government. Last December, the French government proposed giving 300 euro ($340) bonuses to officers deployed to the protests by the yellow vest movement that started in mid-November. President Macron committed to the idea of protest duty pay. However, police representatives wanted compensation for years of overtime duty never paid out. Istanbul / Daily Sabah with AP