Praise for re­cruit­ment rule U-turn

The Dominion Post - - News - MATT STE­WART

A po­lice U-turn on a pol­icy that barred all new re­cruits who took anti-de­pres­sants has been ap­plauded by a man who was re­fused en­try to the force be­cause he had been tak­ing the med­i­ca­tion.

Master­ton man Chris Ren­wick said since the de­ci­sion was made pub­lic, he had re­ceived dozens of mes­sages through so­cial me­dia from other would-be re­cruits who had also been ruled out by the ban who were happy with the re­vised stance.

Po­ten­tial re­cruits on an­tide­pres­sants could now feel com­fort­able ap­ply­ing as the med­i­ca­tion would not nec­es­sar­ily ruin their chances of hav­ing a po­lice ca­reer.

‘‘It’s great they can be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion with­out feel­ing guilty or un­able to do the job,’’ Ren­wick said.

Ear­lier this year, po­lice said new re­cruits on anti-de­pres­sants could not join the force, a view the Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion slammed as un­ac­cept­able.

Would-be re­cruits needed to be both med­i­ca­tion and symp­tom free for two years be­fore their med­i­cal suit­abil­ity would be con­sid­ered.

But po­lice deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive of peo­ple Kaye Ryan said on Thurs­day a change in med­i­cal stan­dards for ap­pli­cants meant po­ten­tial re­cruits on an­tide­pres­sant med­i­ca­tion would now be as­sessed on a case-by-case ba­sis.

Any ap­pli­cant who took an­tide­pres­sants needed a re­port from a reg­is­tered clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, she said.

‘‘Whilst a stand-down pe­riod may still be im­posed, it would be deter­mined by an as­sess­ment of the ap­pli­cant’s in­di­vid­ual cir­cum­stances and med­i­cal his­tory.’’

Ap­pli­cants were re­quired to list their pre­scribed med­i­ca­tions and give med­i­cal his­tory dur­ing the re­cruit­ment process but un­til

"It's great they can be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion with­out feel­ing guilty or un­able to do the job."

Chris Ren­wick

Thurs­day those that took an­tide­pres­sant med­i­ca­tions were im­me­di­ately barred.

Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land Psy­chi­a­try pro­fes­sor Robert Kydd car­ried out the re­view for the po­lice. His re­port said a med­i­cated per­son may make bet­ter judg­ments than some­one with an un­treated con­di­tion.

Ryan said the po­lice were grate­ful for the re­view and took the men­tal well­be­ing of of­fi­cers se­ri­ously.

A po­lice spokes­woman said ap­pli­cants who had com­pleted a three-month re­cruit­ment course cer­tifi­cate but were re­jected un­der the old anti-de­pres­sant pol­icy would not have to do the cer­tifi­cate again if it was com­pleted less than two years ago.

If it had been more than two years - and they had not yet gone to the Royal New Zealand Po­lice Col­lege - they would need to do a free three-week re­fresher course, which could be done on­line.

In nei­ther case would po­ten­tial re­cruits be re­quired to pay the $690 cer­tifi­cate course fee again.

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