Praise for recruitment rule U-turn
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."
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.