1491976168055 - Health Minister urges review of police recruit no anti-depressant rule

Health Minister urges review of police recruit no anti-depressant rule

Police should review a controversial policy that bans people on anti-depressants from becoming police officers, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said.

In late March it was revealed that the police’s recruitment policy required new recruits to be both medication- and symptom-free for a period of two years before their medical suitability would be considered.

On Tuesday, Coleman, a former surgeon, told NZME, “people can function perfectly well while on anti-depressants” and he would encourage police to “have a look at” the policy.

A day before, Labour’s police spokesman Stuart Nash apologised for comments he had made supporting the police stance.

READ MORE: * Cop’s no recruits on anti-depressants rule revealed * Stuart Nash apologises for anti-depressant comments * Mental health advocates: Police policy stigmatises

“I think there are enough people out there who would make brilliant police officers without any existing mental health condition”

“Do we want someone with an existing mental health condition in the police force, considering the high degree of stress, week-in, week-out that a lot of these officers face?”

Police Minister Paula Bennett has refused to wade-in to the police recruit anti-depressant ban.

“Dr Coleman was speaking as the Minister of Health, as he has expertise in this area,” she said on Wednesday evening. “As Minister of Police, there is a statutory requirement that I don’t get involved in operational matters, therefore it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment,” Bennett said.

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