Police psychologist tells of siege impact on families of officers

Local | Cindy Wan 18 Sep 2019

A four-year-old girl showed symptoms of acute stress disorder, such as insomnia and bedwetting, after her home in Wong Tai Sin was besieged by protesters armed with bricks, the police said.

In a meeting held by the Independent Police Complaints Council yesterday, senior police clinical psychologist Ingrid Mak Wing-fun said the girl lives with her parents, who are police officers, one-year-old sister, grandmother and domestic helper in the Wong Tai Sin Disciplined Services Quarters.

The parents were not at home when this happened on August 4.

The children and their grandmother stayed in the flat's corridor and didn't open the door for neighbors when they knocked, Mak said.

The eldest daughter later exhibited symptoms of acute stress disorder, including regression, insomnia and bedwetting.

Some frontline police officers were upset and confused, and questioned why protesters feel "as if the police have murdered their fathers," Mak said.

They also face pressure from work and are upset about negative news reports on police enforcement.

Fake news have also worsened society's hatred of police officers, Mak said.

The police's psychological service group received 66 counseling cases from officers and their family members from June to August, and visited police dormitories over 100 times to offer assistance. Some 375 officers and over 2,000 of the police's family members have been "doxxed," where people search for and publish an individual's personal information on the internet, said Swalikh Mohammed, superintendent of the cyber security and technology crime bureau.

The Independent Police Complaints Council received 1,034 complaints against police in the first eight months of this year, a 16.9 percent increase compared to last year.

Among the complaints, reports on abuse of power rose by 141.7 percent to 29 cases this year.

Other complaints included neglect of duty, inappropriate behavior and citizens being assaulted.

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