Operators intervening in emergency situations, including policemen, are exposed to events with a strong emotional impact called "critical service events". These critical incidents can cause a particular state of psychological distress, despite the fact that the subject naturally implements coping strategies. Then there is the very delicate issue of suicide in the Police Forces, which turns out to be a very complex subject, both from the strictly scientific point of view and with respect to the media delicacy it covers, with the risk of falling into the opposites of the curtain of silence on the one hand, and the search for an institutional scapegoat at all costs, on the other. Furthermore, suicide, and in particular that in uniform, is still strongly conditioned by the stigma, the mark which is more or less openly attributed to those who voluntarily take their lives and to their families. From this point of view, on the one hand, an objective and transparent approach is fundamental, such as that which informs the initiative recently taken by the Department of Public Security to set up a Permanent Joint Observatory on the phenomenon of suicides, and on the other hand, from a preventive point of view, the experimentation of models of prevention, such as that based on communication between peers, which can represent a factor of protection against stress, in particular acute from critical events. Peer support groups have the task of providing initial psychological support and crisis management, aimed at preventing, monitoring and intervening in cases of need.
Keywords: Police; critical events; stress; suicides; prevention; observatory; peer communication.