Police views of suicidal persons and the law criminalizing attempted suicide in Ghana: A qualitative study with policy implications.
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionSage Open. 2017, 7 (3), 1-11. 10.1177/2158244017731803
The penal code of Ghana condemns suicide attempt. The present study sought to explore the views of the police on persons who attempt suicide and the law criminalizing the act. Qualitative in-depth interviews were used to explore the views of 18 officers of the Ghana Police Service. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis technique. Findings showed that the police officers profiled suicide attempters as needy, enigmatic, ignorant, and blameworthy. Majority (n = 14) of them disagreed with the law and suggested a repeal, whereas only four of them agreed with the law. Regardless of their positions on criminalization, they showed an inclination to help, rather than arrest, when confronted with such persons in line of their duty. Educating the police on suicidal behavior may help to deepen their understanding and help improve the way they handle suicidal persons. This may also strengthen police suicide prevention gatekeeping obligations.