The recent alleged fratricide in Torremolinos, where a Local Police officer shot and killed her sister and then committed suicide, has started a debate on the complex issue of gun ownership by employees who are or have been on leave for psychological reasons.
Malaga City Council aims to create a protocol that allows , based on technical criteria, the provisional withdrawal of a gun from an officer when behaviour reveals a disease of a psychological nature.
Current regulations state that if an officer is on leave as a result of anxiety, depression or any other mental disorder, they are forced to surrender their service weapon. At the current time there are a dozen of them deposited for this reason. If the temporary disability is for any other reason, the officer is advised to leave the gun with the gunsmith until re-entering service.
However, officers registering as ‘sick’ do not have to state the reason for their leave or any condition being treated. They can just deliver the necessary document without further explanation. Doctors cannot reveal the condition or treatment being carried out relating to their patient under the Data Protection laws.
Málaga wants to develop a framework of cases or instances whereby management can intervene and where officers must pass an aptitude test to determine whether or not they should be permitted to carry a gun.
Signs of anxiety, depression, aggressive behaviour, addiction or even a comment from a relative would lead to an assessment by an outside expert as to whether that person should be allowed to carry a gun.
The protocol, still in its infancy, would not only cover officers who have reported sick but also those on active duty. In such cases, it would be a possibility to assign an individual a job not requiring the carrying of a firearm if certain predetermined ‘signs’ were observed.
The State Security Forces already operate such a protocol.