As a result of the critical nature of police officials' work, it is of utmost importance that they have direct access to support. The efficacy of the present trauma intervention programmes in the South African Police Service (SAPS) are questioned, because despite the implementation of these programmes, police officials still present high levels of acute and behavioural problems. The objective of this article was to explore the uniqueness of the South African Police Service as a profession, by discussing the continuum of trauma and stress, from the traumatic incidents, basic psychological symptoms, coping mechanisms the exhibition of pathological responses and the experience of trauma intervention programmes in the SAPS. This exploration is important to create guidelines and to make certain recommendations with regard to client-focused programmes for police officials attached to the specialist units in the North-West Province. For purposes of this article, the researcher will firstly concentrate on the problem statement with reference to trauma exposure and trauma intervention programmes in the SAPS, where after the purpose of the study will be explained. The researcher then presents a summary of the research methodology applicable to this study. This article is part of a preliminary study (situation analysis and information collection) that will form the basis for the development, implementation and evaluation of a client-oriented psychosocial therapeutic trauma intervention programme, within the context of the SAPS.