POLICE officers with gambling problems can be provided with counselling to help them from getting into financial problems, a force psychologist said yesterday. Director of Audit Brian Jenney's report tabled in the Legislative Council yesterday said an increasing number of officers were being lent money from force welfare funds to help them with debts. The audit revealed that one in 17 police officers could have financial problems and officers were estimated to have borrowed as much as $763 million in 1992-93. The force psychologist said police officers often worked under stress because of the nature of their job and this could contribute to them developing a gambling habit. But there were many other factors involved which led to the officers borrowing money to meet their financial needs. ''There are many reasons causing an individual to have financial problems and having a highly stressful job could only be one of those many reasons,'' the psychologist said. He said officers who sought help with financial problems which developed out of gambling could be provided with counselling by medical officers. But the chairman of the Local Inspectors' Association, Senior Inspector Robert Chau Chuen-kung, denied that officers were any more prone to gambling than those in other professions. ''The whole damned world is gambling, not only police officers,'' he said. Mr Chau said police officers need to work irregular hours, and their lifestyle could lead them into debt. ''Police officers usually cannot go back home and have meals, and they have to spend money eating out,'' he said. He added that the high living standards in Hong Kong also meant some officers could find it difficult to make ends meet. Mr Chau said the auditor's estimate of debt in the force might be too high. Mr Chau said although the auditor revealed that a total of 2,444 police staff, or eight per cent, received garnishee orders from the Inland Revenue Department, Mr Chau quoted the Commissioner of Police Li Kwan-ha as saying more than half of those who received such orders owed less than $5,000. ''I don't think the problem is very serious,'' he said. The garnishee order is issued by the Inland Revenue Commissioner to the Director of Accounting Services in case of salaries tax default, requires the director to deduct unpaid tax from the officers' wages.