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Insurance Companies acting ( badly ) on behalf of the NSW Police Force



Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione speaks about Police Suicide and including the names of those Police who suicided due to job pressures, being memorialised on the NSW Police Wall of Remembrance – 27 October 2016 on ABC radio.




Harassment and PTSD drove a former Wollongong police officer out of her career

Jan. 2, 2015, 10:30 p.m.

Sandra Mullaly is cheerful in her police photo but her time in the force was anything but.
Sandra Mullaly is cheerful in her police photo but her time in the force was anything but.

It was tough enough coping with the demands of being a police officer in Wollongong in the 1990s without also having to deal with sexual harassment and bullying by those who were supposed to be by her side, actions that Sandra Mullaly says made her contemplate suicide. CYDONEE MARDON tells her story.

When Sandra Mullaly joined the police force she had her heart set on working with the dog squad but her ambitions were muzzled almost instantly.

‘‘The sergeant in charge told me that wasn’t going to happen, I can still hear him ringing in my ears all these years later,’’ she said.

‘‘There will never be any bitches in my kennels, two legged or four legged; that’s what he told me.’’

It was the first of many harsh realities for the female officer who joined the NSW Police Force at the age of 28 to ‘‘help save the world’’.

“‘‘I fought for my life, my partner’s life but instead of coming back as a hero I was stonewalled, no-one would work with me. I sort of lost it after that.””

In the ’90s women had to work twice as hard as men, be twice as smart and run twice as fast to be considered half the cop a man was.

But what really shattered Ms Mullaly was the treatment she received after coming forward with claims of sexual harassment.

Speaking up against a male superior divided Wollongong police station and left her feeling isolated – and alone when her life was on the line.

‘‘I was the victim [in a] massive sexual harassment claim and that’s what punch-started the whole thing,’’ Ms Mullaly, now 53, said.

‘‘The guy got sent to Sydney, there was a massive internal affairs inquiry, it broke the station up.’’

Sandra Mullaly tends to a child during her time as a member of the Wollongong police force.
Sandra Mullaly tends to a child during her time as a member of the Wollongong police force.

Ms Mullaly was transferred to the transit branch.

‘‘They didn’t want me there, they would do things like leave me on a train with no radio, desert me when I was in the middle of an arrest. They would set me up time and time again, change the rosters so I was turning up late for shifts. Eventually the sergeant got wise to it all.’’

In 1994 the isolation reached dangerous heights when a drug-crazed man attacked Ms Mullaly and her partner on a Wollongong-bound train.

‘‘My partner asked him for a ticket and he got crazy. The radio didn’t work that well so he lent out the door to get a better signal to call for help. The offender pounced on him.

‘‘They’re both hanging off the train, my partner holding on by one foot, his fingers … I dragged them back in and next thing I knew this offender is throwing windmill punches and my partner is copping lots of heavy hits.

‘‘I was racing up and down his back like a squirrel up a tree, poking him in the eye, punching, he had no idea I was on him, I held the gun on his back but no reaction, he was just crazy.

‘‘I pulled my baton out, hit him between elbows, his fingertips, the techniques we were taught and still nothing happened.

‘‘He had no idea. I broke his leg under his knee, it didn’t slow him down.

‘‘The train driver came to help, so we’re all hanging on to the baton, and he fought the three of us off and took it off us. He smacked me over the head with it, beat me with it. We managed to get him down, the train driver got the emergency brake on and we got to Wollongong station.’’

Sandra Mullaly, with Jedi, now deals with dogs, rather than humans. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI
Sandra Mullaly, with Jedi, now deals with dogs, rather than humans. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Ms Mullaly has undergone five operations to reconstruct her face and jaw and doctors say she requires further surgery.

Four months after the train assault, Ms Mullaly was at breaking point. She was back at Wollongong station where she was considered a dobber in a culture where ‘‘big girls’ blouses’’ were not welcome.

‘‘I truly believed that when I got back after time off with my injuries I’d get a medal. I still get offended now,’’ she said.

‘‘I fought for my life, my partner’s life but instead of coming back as a hero I was stonewalled, no-one would work with me,’’ the mother of two recalls.

‘‘I sort of lost it after that.

‘‘I decided that I would kill myself. I went upstairs to my locker, got my gun out, put it to my head, then I started thinking about my kids. That’s the only reason I didn’t do it.

‘‘So I put my gun away, locked it up, then I went into the scientific department where all the dead people pictures are all over the walls, the house of horrors.

‘‘The next thing I remember I was found under the desk, curled up in a foetal position, just crying. I didn’t know where I was or what I was doing.’’

Ms Mullaly spent the next two years under the blankets at home ‘‘looking after my kids as a single parent’’.

‘‘That can be translated to my children looked after me. I couldn’t function, I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t do anything.’’

Ms Mullaly was medically retired in 1997.

She received $5000 compensation. She didn’t have the energy or the mental stability to fight for anything more.

‘‘I joined in 1989 a couple months after the new insurance system started. I was hounded and harassed and spied on and interrogated by the insurance companies trying to prove I didn’t have stress or injuries.

‘‘They sent me to quite a few psychiatrists … I missed a lot of appointments, I couldn’t drive, couldn’t function, just existed.

‘‘Then I couldn’t fight for myself or advocate because I didn’t have the strength.’’

Ms Mullaly said the hardest part to accept was the lack of support from the organisation she had once been so proud to join and the ‘‘appalling culture’’ it was breeding.

‘‘I actually did work with some really good guys, some really supportive guys but some of them were ostracised for supporting me, some were helping me in secret,’’ she said.

Today things must be better, she surmised, considering the increase in the number of females in the job, but the culture was still worrying.

‘‘There needs to be a better welfare system, better support, someone you can actually go to to report what a boss is doing to you, or someone that’s not your boss,’’ she said.

‘‘You would never ever say you’re not okay. If you show any sign of compassion you’re weak.

‘‘It’s not okay to feel anything, but how do you go to a cot death, where you take a baby out of the arms of the mother who is convinced her baby is still alive,  how can you not feel that?

‘‘If guys show anything it’s even worse.’’

Ms Mullaly has called on the police force to encourage team building for officers that doesn’t involve drinking beers together at the pub after a shift.

‘‘I was a single mum who couldn’t wait to get home to my children after a week of night shift. I didn’t drink. That certainly doesn’t help you fit in.’’

Today Ms Mullaly, who can’t watch the news or anything involving police, has found another way to help people – and be around dogs.

Her Naughty Dog School helps dog owners cope with troublesome pets.

‘‘I did a lot of work on myself to get out of my hole,’’ she said. ‘‘I couldn’t go to train stations, see police in uniform, I was a recluse for two years. But I worked on myself to get better.

‘‘I understand how dogs feel, how to desensitise yourself to fear and anxiety because it’s something I have had to do for myself.

‘‘When you are paralysed with fear you can’t do what someone tells you to do, doesn’t matter how logical it is.

‘‘I understand what animals are going through and I can explain it to their owners in a way they understand.

‘‘So I guess I’ve come full circle, joining the police and wanting to help people, getting into the dog industry.

‘‘Now I’m looking forward to the future, despite the panic attacks and the days where I feel like I’m going a little bit backwards.’’

For help and counselling: Lifeline 131114; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 65946 

Related stories

Editor’s note: PTSD in the police and other emergency services is an important issue that we believe merits debate in the community. While we encourage passionate and robust argument, we must ask respondents to stay on point. Comments that fail to do so, or which degenerate into personal abuse, may be edited or not published.


  • I remember the old saying “Sticks & stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me” but in reality the psychological abuse is far worse than anything physical,

    One thing I know for sure is that karma will come back & to bite who made your life a living hell,

    Wishing you well for the future

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    On one hand we applauded our police for their protection then out of the blue comes a devastating story of a woman cop suffering PTSD..not caused directly from fighting crime,but from her own uniformed colleagues and almost sent her to suicide.Sadly I am aware that this type of tactic is not isolated in the policing community.

    What is needed is decent leadership,and where the hell is the Police Union in all of this

  • Stories like this are far too common. I know officers who have been through similar disgusting experiences.

    When are the people at the top going to pull their heads out of the sand.

    Shame. Shame. Shame.

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      Stephen, cause 9 times out of 10 the sexual harassment comes from people at the top. It is a far to familiar scene seeing a high ranking officer making sexual advances or sexual comments towards most female officers. The police force in general do not look after there own, except if you “one of the boys”.

      The Nswpolice does not look after their own, there is always someone else that can do a job. as long as they have numbers coming out of goulburn, they don’t care.

      • Yes, Sandra, I appreciate that. By “people at the top” I mean way above the Force. We need a Premier, Police Minister, and a Comissioner with the will to change the culture. Sadly, there seems little likelihood of that happening and there lies the shame.

        In the meantime, let’s hope the media keeps the issue alive as there are many brave and dedicated officers being thrown on the scrap heap.

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    I said the other day, you never really grow stronger until the 12th hour, I suppose you know that. What a woman!

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    Ha, it sounds a lot like my teaching career which came to an end in ’97. Bullies and psychopaths in the workplace. They’re everywhere.

  • When I see the calibre of the officers in charge of the Police Force it is no wonder the organisation is in such a mess. A number of the current senior officers were to busy applying for promotions and never did any actual police work. They sat in offices and worked out who they needed to align themselves with to get promoted. There was a club culture. It is such a shame they aren’t aware of the trauma or have experienced what real police work is really like.

  • “When Sandra Mullaly joined the police force she had her heart set on

    working with the dog squad but her ambitions were muzzled almost


    Looking at things from a different angle, when one joins an organisation should they expect to be able to do in it just whatever they like?

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      It’s not a case of a person expecting to do “whatever they like” but more a case of a woman expecting to get the same opportunities as her male colleagues if she puts in the same amount of work, study and has the same passion and dedication.

      It’s a case of a person expecting the support of her superiors and colleagues when she stands up for what is right.

      • I wrote the above because there was a place decades ago where the person in charge would not hire anyone with higher qualifications than himself lest upper management decide a piece of paper was worth more than knowledge and experience (I was caught by this myself once) and promote them over him.

        We might “want” the same opportunities but does that mean we will (or even should) get them? If you’ve been around for any length of time you should be aware that a lot of the time getting what you want is more about being at the right place at the right time than much else.

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    And these people investigate themselves of any wrongdoings with a 90%+ no problem and no one charged and we still expect their motto of to “serve and protect”

    Pfft pigs will fly before i see that happen

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      I definitely don’t agree with this comment. I have seen plenty of Police summonsed or charged with various offences over the years stemming from internal investigations, me being one of them.

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      That is the motto of the LAPD and other American Police Agencies.




Illawarra Mercury                                                  Friday  2 January 2015



How ex-cop’s harrowing story saved a life

"If telling my story saved a life then the pain of recounting it as honestly as I did makes it more than worthwhile," says former police officer James. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER
“If telling my story saved a life then the pain of recounting it as honestly as I did makes it more than worthwhile,” says former police officer James. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

A former Illawarra police officer’s courage to go public about his suicide attempt has saved the life of a serving cop battling post-traumatic stress disorder.

James spent four days in an induced coma after hanging himself in the backyard of the family home 12 months ago.

He was found by his wife and young children clinically dead. A retired ambulance officer who lived nearby heard the screams for help and rushed to the scene.

James woke in Wollongong Hospital to the realisation of what he had done.

His marriage has since fallen apart and insurance companies Metlife and TAL are locked in dispute over who is liable for his Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance.

This week James told the Mercury that reliving his nightmare had been worth it.

“The support I have received and the positivity which sprung from my story has been amazing,” he said.

“In fact I am humbled that one of those officers expressed to me that except for me telling my story and my experiences following my suicide attempt, he would have acted to end his life, as I tried to end mine.”

“If telling my story saved a life then the pain of recounting it as honestly as I did makes it more than worthwhile,” James said.

“My experiences have led me to believe that ending my life isn’t the answer. I remain in the middle of my legal dispute but hope that I can help other officers in my situation to keep the faith and reach out for help when they desperately need it.”

James’s legal counsel, John Cox, said news that his story saved a life last week was wonderful and showed urgent changes were needed to address the insurance debacle which was keeping sick men and women in a state of limbo.

“That James’s emotional, in fact excruciatingly sad, story resonated among the community of former police clients was clear from the response I received and the sense of identification that so many felt,” said Mr Cox, who leads Slater and Gordon’s police compensation team.

“In my discussions with James it is also clear that although difficult to do, the story had a cathartic effect for him.

“It is important however that the community does not simply let this issue rest given the large number of vulnerable former police still caught up in this system.”

For help and counselling: Lifeline 131114; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 65946

Editor’s note: PTSD in the police and other emergency services is an important issue that we believe merits debate in the community. While we encourage passionate and robust argument, we must ask respondents to stay on point. Comments that fail to do so, or which degenerate into personal abuse, may be edited or not published.


  • Once again on a serious issue that needs addressing our Politicians are nowhere to be found, I guess there isn’t a buck in it.

    • My view on our politicians hasn’t changed much over the years but you seriously have to question what they actually do for us when on such a serious and scandalous issue affecting the core of our emergency services and consequently public safety, they can’t even be bothered to do the usual and email a response to the Mercury?

      If they don’t have a position on something as important as this is, what do they do for their substantial taxpayer funded salaries??

      There can be only one answer to explain the across the board political silence on this story…..everything these people have been exposing is 100% TRUE.

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    What an inspirational story! The fact that James’ story has had a positive effect on so many people is a true indication of his courage and strength to help others. What alarms me is that his story has helped a SERVING cop. I wonder how many other cops are serving the state of NSW with the same mental illness?

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    I wonder if the NSW police would be interested in this confronting issue. By all accounts, if there are serving members of the force suffering in silence and feel suicide is the only way out, there is a serious problem within the system!

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    I have to ask why would you stay in a job that takes you to the brink of death? A policeman’s job is very difficult we all know what they have to deal with.

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    There needs to be a lot more support for all our emergency service workers. The top brass could start off by providing a completely confidential and independent tel helpline run by former emergency workers. They know the difficulties staff face and can be trained in counselling and giving appropriate advice. All the emergency services have a duty of care towards their staff and they should be made accountable when an officer is found to be suffering from severe stress. No-one should ever be afraid to admit that the job is getting to them without fear of it affecting their job or reputation.

    Well done for standing up James. Your courage in speaking out will probably help more people than you will ever know.

  • We don’t look after these fine people even less than our generation of Vet’s, and that is our community’s disgrace.

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    This bloke deserves recognition, justice and a distinguished medal of valour. Never end the fight James, it pays to be a winner!

  • Keep fighting “old mate”


Illawarra Mercury                                    Thursday  1 January 2015




At breaking point, no-one had her back

Dec. 12, 2014, 4:43 p.m.

After 2½ years, Sarah's claims remain unsettled with no end in sight.
After 2½ years, Sarah’s claims remain unsettled with no end in sight.

An Illawarra police officer sat in a rest room one night and considered drawing her Glock, turning it on herself and squeezing the trigger.

Images of her family stopped her.

The thought of colleagues having to deal with the mess of suicide also swayed her back from the brink. But those workmates proved not to be real mates in her time of need.

“For a little while some people contacted me, but it dwindled as the ones I thought were mates have no longer bothered with me,” Sarah* said.

“”I constantly woke through the night to check on my children … I was up about 10 times a night.””

“It appears the only time the police family shows its face to support someone is when an officer is killed in the line of duty. Sad, but true.”

So after 14 years in the NSW Police Force, Sarah was discharged on medical grounds and, like hundreds of others, left to cope alone.

Her hell was just beginning. Next came her epic battle with insurance companies and to this day the drawn-out process and covert tactics used against her are causing just as much anguish as any front-line battle.

“My family and I are under surveillance by the insurance companies and they’ve even gone as far as coming into the gym while I was with a support person just to stare at me,” Sarah said.

“They followed me to my child’s school, which is 200 metres away, only to cause more distress to me. This exacerbated my condition and I wouldn’t go anywhere.

“Just because people see me at the gym with a support person doesn’t mean I am not suffering, it means I’m following doctors’ advice and trying to do normal things and have a normal life, whatever that means.”

For Sarah, regular activities like going to the shops are a struggle.

“I mainly do online shopping so I don’t have to attend those places. Driving on certain roads gives me panic attacks and causes arguments between my husband and I.”

She joined the police because she wanted to catch crooks and help victims.

She was stationed in southern Sydney before transferring to the Illawarra and worked in general duties, detectives, child protection and other specialist areas.

In 2010 she visited a psychologist because she wasn’t sleeping and couldn’t cope with watching any violence on TV.

“The news, anything really, even just hearing about things set me off,” she said.

“I constantly woke through the night to check on my children. In general, I was up about 10 times a night.”

Sarah was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and given a pamphlet. She left the office and never returned.

Later she found another psychologist and after three months of treatment, she felt OK.

“My PTSD is triggered by stress and anxiety along with numerous other triggers. I haven’t just had one incident, mine is accumulative,” she said.

“Work knew about my PTSD and did nothing to assist me.”

She would ask colleagues not to talk about “certain incidents” but got replies like: “It’s part of the job, deal with it”.

“So I would constantly walk out of the room when topics came up that I knew would affect me. That is one of the reasons I kept quiet and tried dealing with it by seeing a private psychologist.”

Eventually in 2011, Sarah broke down at work. She had chest pains, diarrhoea and couldn’t function.

“During this time, I certainly wanted to end the pain,” she said.

In hindsight, her chances of ever returning to work were minuscule.

Her boss had what he called “the departure lounge”.

“Everyone knew about it and there were several people sitting on it, waiting for their discharge, so this is the type of assistance you got.”

Her boss’s words of advice also stuck in her head: “This is not your trauma, it’s someone else’s”.

“It may not be my trauma, but I was there and saw those people dead in the car, and I cried when I took a statement from a family who lost their newborn to SIDS,” she said.

At her lowest point, Sarah was admitted to hospital and consequently discharged from the NSW Police. She hasn’t stepped inside a police station since.

“Don’t get me wrong. I loved my job and I loved to work out on the road locking up the crooks. I was good at my job.

“When I was discharged, I was given no payout, although I have income protection, but we are still not sure when that will end. When you are discharged no-one is there to explain what happens next – you are left in limbo.

“As soon as you receive a notification you are being discharged, the police are on your doorstep taking all your uniforms and badge.”

In 2012, Sarah put a claim in to Metlife and TAL insurance companies for a total and permanent disablement. After 2½ years her claims remain unsettled with no end in sight.

“By dragging the process out, it keeps people like me in a state of anxiety, uncertainty, stress, anger and frustration and that’s why some take their life or pull the pin on their claim,” she said.

“I am now waiting for my next lot of surveillance when, and if, Metlife reopen my claim.”

The NSW government needed to step in and stop insurance companies from interrogating injured workers and their families and ensure claims were dealt with in a timely manner, she said.

“Police and ex-police going through this process have enough trauma and stress to deal with on a daily basis, yet these insurance companies go above and beyond to traumatise the injured and their families more,” Sarah said.

“While this process is ongoing, you can’t recover.”

* Not her real name.

Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

Editor’s note: PTSD in the police and other emergency services is an important issue that we believe merits debate in the community. However, while we encourage passionate and robust argument, we must ask respondents to stay on point. Comments that fail to do so, or which degenerate into personal abuse, may be edited or not published at all.


  • This really goes to show the Police Force need to bring in rigorous psychological testing to ensure the psychological suitability of Police recruits. For too long they have accepted psychologically unsuitable people into the Police Force endangering the community.

    • Are you serious? Your ignorance is an insult to all the men and women who join the Police to help their communities – honorable decent people of sound mind! What you fail to understand or acknowledge is that these people are exposed to the entire suite of human depravity, violence, sexual exploitation etc and also horrendous crime scenes that members of society could never fathom! Healthy recruits of sound mind go in and damage souls come out! When was the last time an officer suffering PTSD put the community in danger!

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      You’ve got no idea. As an ex-police officer and detective. I can tell you there is not one single person other then somebody who is possibly a sociopath that is able to deal with the psychology trauma police experience. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. Human beings are not designed to undergo this type of ongoing trauma. Eventually everybody will succumb, its a matter of time and the level of impairment they eventually end up with.

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      Good luck finding anybody who is psychologically suitable. To do and see what Cops do will bring the bravest of brave and hardest of hard to their knees. I would be more worried about having people who it didn’t affect policing our streets

    • That is an over-simplified statement and quite frankly stupid, made by someone who has never had to deal with highly stressful, violent and dangerous situations day-in, day-out for years.

      If you did, you’d know that stress affects different people in different ways – there is no psychological test or profile that will determine whether someone will cope with years and years of high-pressure situations, attendance at crime scenes, protracted investigations into deeply disturbing events. How each individual responds and deals with the situation is different and often impossible to foretell. If you know a way to determine this, please enlighten us.

      I’ve seen the biggest and the toughest take it all to heart and crumble, conversely I’ve seen the softest show an astounding amount of resilience. What is needed instead is increased awareness and support – training in resilience and adequate funding / resourcing to ensure the long-term damage is minimised, rather than ignored.

      It’s not just once incident, it is the accumulation of many incidents, commonly over months or years and a lack of robust support mechanisms to help people cope. Within the job, most are seen as a liability and after being discharged are affectively abandoned and alone, with zero support at all.

      To make matters worse, they are then placed under obvious surveillance by the life insurance companies, hell-bent on finding the smallest technicality upon which to deny their injury and their claim.

    • There is no way psychological testing of recruits will prevent the mental injuries that can be aquired from the variety of duties members have to deal with. Police are human beings, not automatons! It is a matter of how injured members are dealt with, or swept under the carpet, both by the insurer and police command.

      The situation in Victoria seems to be a carbon copy of the situation in NSW. Legislation is written so as to raise the benchmark for a claim of mental injury, despite the fact that a mental injury (such ad PTSD) can be a lit more devastating tha a physical injury, and inevitably more long term.

      These injured members ate usually experienced members with a lot of skills to offer the job. Why not harness these skills in a constructive manner that benefits the community, the force and the injured member, rather than forcing them out of the job as cannon fodder and having to train new members (at great expense).

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      How would you know what psychological tests Police are submitted to? “Endangering the Community” they’re the only people protecting it! Pretty hard to see the real world from behind a keyboard don’t you think.

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      Wow, Anthea your comment just confirms what these suffering officers are up against. I myself spent 9 years with defence as a front line special forces soldier. We have a selection process which included numerous psyc assessments. Some of the best most mentally strong soldiers I know have been diagnosed with PTSD after what they have been through. Police officers are the first onto the scene and are expected to do tasks that most people would run away from. Unfortunately some situations haunt you for years. If you were to experience the aftermath of murder, domestic violence, motor vehicle accidents, informing next of kin of their dead I think you would well and truly realise your comments are beyond offensive!

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      I agree, however dont you think that ptsd can affect people who appear to be psycholgically sound in the beginning? Im not sure that you could 100% predict who would be affected and to what degree.

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      That comment just goes to show how little you know!! As I stand it does not matter how much testing is performed it is the everyday events within the job that incurr these psychological problems…. Not prior to starting the job!!!!

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      Anthea, how would you suggest the Cairns police officers that attended the scene where 8 children were murdered were tested to not have those scenes haunt them for the rest of their lives?

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      Would be interesting to know the stats regarding PTSD and medical discharges concerning police oficers in other countries also.

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    Police suing for stress related illnesses is like teachers suing because students didn’t listen to them and made them suffer similar stress related illnesses.

    You know what your getting yourself into when you enter these jobs. As a police officer you know you will encounter traumatic experiences. No one forced you into this job. And now that you have no other job opportunities in life, you want taxpayers and insurance policy holders to pay for your poor career choice.

    If you dont want to be a police officer move onto another occupation with NO compensation.

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      I challenge you and any other person to walk in the shoes of a police officer for a day. I bet you wouldn’t / couldn’t stomach half of the stuff police would go through. Could you investigate a person for child pornography and BE REQUIRED to watch every single video and look at every single photo that is on someone’s computer, whilst watching thinking this is a poor innocent child that, could quite easily be your child. Could you sit through hours of video and photos and not have this affect you?? If you could why don’t you get the courage and apply, try make a difference?

      I would imagine after time you may suffer some sort of PTSD. I know fellow colleagues that when the house phone rings their PTSD is triggered, associating phone calls with bad news.

      Unless you have walked a mile in someone’s shoes, I would be so quick to judge people suffering from PTSD.

      I hope that when your family is in need of police and sometime they probably will I bet a police officer is there as quick as they can be dispite The effects of PTSD.

    • The individual police are the Policy Holders – it was garnished from their wages fortnightly!

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    Anthea, it’s not the recruitment processes that require the assessment. NOTHING can stop PTSD happening, unless you want a police force solely made up of sociopaths and psychopaths. IT IS THE ONGOING PSYCHOLOGICAL CARE that is the issue here. Society makes a huge financial investment in the recruitment and training of Police and of ADF members, then the organisations involved take better care of their fleet of vehicles and weapons than they do of their human resources! There’s no humanity in the very organisations entrusted with the protection of humanity …

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    Anthea Polous you are a complete and utter goose. The most stable, mentally strong and outstanding person can crumble after years of the abuse and trauma experienced as a Police Officer. Whilst I agree with Prejoining psych evaluations etc. it is the ongoing management and welfare that really needs to be addressed. I challenge you to spend one day riding along the Thin Blue Line and can almost guarantee it will haunt you for life. Shame Anthea Polous, Shame

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    Pfft 2 and a half years on compo. Try waiting ten years with no payout or fortnightly payment despite insurance company accepting liability. While not ideal cops get it alot better than those with ptsd from other jobs

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    Income protection for police … does this actually exist ???

    Please name the company.

  • My thoughts and good wishes go out to all of our Emergency Services personnel who everyday see the horrific results of car crashes, domestic violence, fires etc. The all need our support not comments like “they know what they were signing up for”. PTSD is real – anyone who has had family serve in any conflict with the ADF knows this.

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    Sad to say but I too have succumbed to the same treatment as stated above, it’s called Vicarious Trauma, no preventive measures are implemented plunging one into a deeper cravas. I it’s a not so nice place to be day after day while being attacked from all sides, I give thanks for my wife who has understood and supports me, however in regards to work I’m detached in order to survive and I like Sarah love what I do, I carnt begin to describe the emotion when an offender changers their behaviour DV and becomes the man women they always wanted to be. Sad to say there is NO support, you are on your own and constantly walk under accusations from all

  • Best advice i had was from Vietnam Veterans….talk….talk and more talk. You need to talk about what you have seen heard or done in the line of duty. Do not bottle it up or try to drink it away. PTSD is real and no one but the military or “000” workers would understand. Since meeting some Veterans in my area and hearing their stories it has certainly helped me and since then i have talked more to my wife about the things i had seen. If the Government and the “000” Industry would take it seriously the situation would be better.

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    In 1985 I had a complete breakdown,in Qld.and to this day have not received one cent in the way of compensation because the interviewing medical board said that ptsd did not exist.

    To add insult to injury the insurance company representing the superanuation scheme sent a private detective to check me out,unbeknown to me at the time,he made false findings and was heard to brag about it ,which got back to me.

    After my threat to go to tv about the low standard of the company,a cheque arrived with a nominal payment and a letter to say that the bulk of the money would be paid in 5 years if there was no recovery from the ilness.

    I have not been able to work since 1985 .

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      In Queensland we have a site called The New Centurions. It is forner and currentserving Police Officers only. Wenare there 24 hours for any former or current Police Officer that needs emtional and sometimes financial help. We have all been there and done the hard yards. To those who critise the emotional testing and comments. If you haven’t worn the shoes you are not competent to comment. Those who hace worn the shoes, cops, former cops, Ambos and Firies have all worn the same shoes so are competent to comments. Maybe you can get former NSW coppers to start the like. Someone get off their bum and do it.

      llawarra Mercury                        Friday  12 December 2014


      Cops spied on, neglected and suicidal

      Dec. 12, 2014, 10 p.m.

      Lawyer John Cox, of Slater and Gordon, says the long wait for claims for psychologically-injured Illawarra police officers is exacerbating their illnesses. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER
      Lawyer John Cox, of Slater and Gordon, says the long wait for claims for psychologically-injured Illawarra police officers is exacerbating their illnesses. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

A lawyer acting for officers with post traumatic stress disorder says aggressive observance of them is taking a further toll on their health, writes CYDONEE MARDON

Illawarra officers are among the 268 psychologically injured police waiting in limbo for their compensation claims to be settled.

Slater and Gordon principal lawyer John Cox says the unnecessary delays are having a significant impact on sick men and women at risk of “exacerbating their illness and quite frankly suicide”.

He has called for the immediate appointment of an independent panel to deal with outstanding Total Permanent Disablement (TPD) claims now in the hands of MetLife and TAL insurers.

“”It’s vital these cases are settled. We can’t allow another suicide of a cop waiting for insurance.””

“Most of the clients I have in that group are already facing delays of two to three years … these people that are being most significantly impacted by the drawn-out process are the people most at risk,” Mr Cox said.

“It’s vital these cases are settled. We can’t allow another suicide of a cop waiting for insurance to be paid. A line has got to be drawn in the sand.”

Mr Cox, who runs Slater and Gordon’s police compensation team, said the panel could be set up immediately and bring relief to a significant number of Illawarra clients.

“At a time when they are most acutely affected, they’ve broken down, they’ve been medically discharged and should be trying to get well, these people are confronted with this ridiculous insurance process.”

Mr Cox also called on the NSW government to set clear guidelines for future TPD claims, including deadlines for case finalisation.

If the deadlines were breached, claims should be deemed accepted by the insurance company, he said.

Mr Cox said the “use of persistent and aggressive surveillance” by insurance companies added further stress to sick police officers.

“Not a single police officer argues against insurers being able to investigate a claim.

“They understand; most of them are investigators themselves,” Mr Cox said.

“But what they do object to, is the delays and the persistent and aggressive surveillance.

“Most of my clients have done surveillance at one time or another, so to find themselves on the other side of the camera, and constantly over long periods of time, is a very traumatic thing,” he said.

“What does surveillance of a person with psychological injury show you? You can’t see what’s going on inside someone’s head.

“I’ve spent a lot of time watching video surveillance of sad looking police officers, there is no joy there I can tell you.

“I have an investigator’s report where they took a snapshot of a client from side on, and draw an arrow pointing to the face saying that the claimant appears to be smiling.

“How do you respond to that? What are they suggesting? That if you have TPD you can’t smile? There is a level of ridiculousness.”

Mr Cox is also calling on the government to take an early intervention approach and encourage a shift in culture in the NSW Police Force.

“We need to stop the next generation of police from developing post-traumatic stress disorder and certainly from having to confront current insurance problems,” he said.

“At the moment there is a stigma about mental illness in the police which stops people putting up their hand and saying ‘I have nightmares, flashbacks, I may need to get some treatment’.”

The overwhelming majority of Mr Cox’s clients believe their careers would have been affected had they confessed.

“I recommend police put education processes in place and it starts with trainees who are joining,” Mr Cox said.

“Police know when they are joining the job they are going to see terrible things. What they don’t know however, is that they’re going to be exposed to psychological illnesses that will likely affect them for the rest of their life.”

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres said MetLife had been replaced as the insurer for the NSW Police Force.

“My focus is on helping injured police return to work and supporting those whose injuries prevent them from returning to work,” Mr Ayres told the Mercury.

The government had invested $15 million in welfare-focused programs for police officers and there were now more than 79 activities and initiatives in place, he said.

Mr Cox said the new initiatives weren’t effective.

“My clients’ overwhelming advice is that most of these processes do not work. The proof is in the pudding,” he said.

“I’m not seeing a slowdown of clients.

“If these things were really working that’s what we would be seeing.”

Mr Cox urged politicians and the community to get behind the “wonderful people” who dedicate their lives to protecting them.

“They go to work doing a job most of us wouldn’t do.

“They’re not well paid, they are exposed to potential life-threatening situations every day and then when they get ill we kick them in the pants and basically leave them to their own devices,” he said.

“From a legal and justice point of view that’s just outrageous. That’s why it’s so easy to act for them, it’s an honour.”

A MetLife spokeswoman told the Mercury the company “understood the concerns of former police officers who are suffering from post-traumatic stress” and was working closely with all parties involved to resolve outstanding claims.

MetLife sought to act with integrity, professionalism and promptness in assessing all claims, the spokeswoman said.

“It is important to emphasise that these claims are extremely complex and require detailed assessment, often with advice from independent specialists.

“Given the complexity of claims and that the assessments can require consideration of circumstances which span over a decade, the assessment process can appear lengthy.”

MetLife has to date paid more than $156 million in benefits to former NSW police officers.

Mr Cox fired back: “This is meaningless to the 268 people waiting”.

Metlife said in the last 12 months it had “considerably boosted its dedicated assessment team and reduced the number of cases significantly”.

The spokeswoman said false claims had a direct impact on the future costs and benefits for current serving officers, making it important to ensure claims were handled with rigour and diligence.

A TAL spokesman said the insurer recognised the complexity of some claims and worked collaboratively with all stakeholders to finalise claims as quickly as possible.

“Many of the claims are of a psychological nature and as part of the process to determine if the illness is permanent, TAL, where possible, also explores return to health and work options to help get people back on their feet,” he said.

“TAL’s primary goal is to service the needs of our partners and customers in accordance with the agreements we have with them and to meet our obligations to pay all valid financial protection claims.”

Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.



  • There is no real support for injured Police Mentally or Physically. It’s well beyond time something was done. Ex premier O’Farrell took away their Death & Disability and replaced it with a travesty of a system, all to save money?? Ok then he gave himself and his cabinet a payrise.

    I have been injured while on duty, I was not supported, not treated. Now the constant pain, discomfort, reoccurring injury has taken its toll. There are many who have paid the ultimate price at the hands of these pathetic excuses for humans that are insurance companies & those who turn their backs on them when they are in need.

    Just remember everyone, We are the ones who run towards the danger while you run away. We all took an oath to protect life & property. But who protects our lives?

    /3599/avatar92.jpg?1418551179″ alt=”Avatar” data-role=”user-avatar” data-user=”135333599″ />

    Justice there is no justice in the system at present which forces you back to your place of injury well before you are ever remotely close to being ready…. they don’t even do that to horses !

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    There is no protection for any injured nsw workers 13 weeks to return or loss of pay 12 months to return to full hours or loss of job, if you do return loss of all medical expenses this how the lieberal party look after their own( big business ) it is now a money making venture for the employer and insurance companies be safe at work cause bairds new 30% threshold means you can lose a limb and not be classed as a serious injury….. Lieberals toxic to the core

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    No one forces someone to become a police officer, firefighter or ambo. You know what your getting yourself in for.

    Remember there are no free lunches in this world. Someone pays for public servants who get massive payouts.

    Maybe, just maybe dis-illusioned police officers should take some responsibility for picking the wrong career path. And take the financial pain for doing so instead of getting others to subsidies their living.

    • StephenR, I found your post incredibly harsh and lacking in compassion.

      Police officers fulfill an essential role for our society and they are forced to witness and be involved in some horrific situations.

      Is it too much to ask that there be support for their mental and physical health if they are damaged in the line of duty?

      In my view, this is the least we can offer them.

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      I suppose if you were debilitated as a direct result of your employment you would not be seeking support from your employer be it financial support or otherwise? I suppose you would just take the financial pain? Like hell you would.

      Free lunches? What an utterly self righteous comment you make. Society would be a bloody shambles without the young men and women who put up their hands to serve in the police, fire brigades, ambulance service, army, navy, air force, etc. The least we as a society can do is help them when they need it most.

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      “You know what your getting yourself in for” ??? Funny I don’t remember reading anywhere in the emergency services application packages that “working for us comes with a free injury, so suck it up” ?? Like any worker, a fortnightly sum of money is exchanged for intellect and labour. Not injury. The bigger picture is that the emergency services have ignored their responsibilities as employers, to provide safe systems of work that minimise injury and that adequately support workers when they do get injured. They just throw people on the scrapheap.

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      Stephen R are you serious? Are you in emergency services? Im pretty sure that most of the cops, ambos and firefighters suffering this condition didn’t expect this by choosing this career path. What a completely insensitive, uneducated comment to make. Some of these people see more carnage, trauma and the like in a 12 hour shift than most people see in a lifetime. And by them choosing this career path means they are stepping up to do a job that most of us could never do. I’m pretty sure they don’t ask for this to happen. How could they know how they were going react?

      And another thing, I’m happy to pay for these people to regain some kind of life back so they can live the rest of their short lives in peace. If each of them saved one life in their career then I consider that worth paying for.

    • Everyone is entitled to an opinion but yours is made from complete ignorance of the realities of Policing, you cannot expose a human being to daily assaults, horrific death and the rest of human detritus without some effect on the people that endure it day after day year after year, forcing those people into a position where suicide is a viable option is disgusting.

      They are not asking for a free ride they are just asking to be looked after when the constant trauma takes its toll and they succumb, at present they are not. PTSD is not like catching a cold, its permanent and when untreated its lethal.

      Nobody should be forced to suicide for just doing their job.

      There are also 285 names on the Police Wall of Remembrance that attest its daily dangers are real not imagined.

    • No!, you don’t know what you are getting yourself in for. That’s the point. The recruitment campaigns highlight the glamour and not the realities of the job. They do not show having to pick up pieces of mutilated bodies, fighting for your life or dealing with children who have been victims of the most vial of crimes. If the truth was told these organisations would not be able to recruit. That’s marketing 101. Following your logic, no worker of any occupation should receive workers compensation if injured because they picked the wrong career. Nice but fortunately we live in a society that is more just than that.

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      So, you suggest that because no one forced the officers to go into the service of upholding the law and protecting civility, they should not be compensated/cared for if they should be injured doing it? What sort of candidate would that attract in the future? This occupation is inherently dangerous and comes with foreseen and unforeseen risks, one unforeseen being PTSD, affecting the officer, the community they serve, as well as their family. Wouldn’t it be better to accept the reality of this condition and take a progressive approach to dealing with it so that maybe the million-dollar investment of recruiting, screening, training, an officer can be salvaged rather than scrapped. compensation is afforded for all sorts of professions that are “Voluntary” and I can think of very few actual professions in modern times that people enter into that are anything but. Compensation is an insurance. Insurance allows people to engage in otherwise risky endeavors that they otherwise would not. The only way officers of the law will be able to risk their own welfare is if the security of compensation is adhered to. Otherwise, you get what you pay for. I understand your frustration in these financially uncertain times, but reinjuring these officers or abandoning them will send a terrible precedence to the active officers who may then worry, “What about when it’s me?”

    • What a load of complete bullshit. You clearly have no understanding of the shite someone with PTSD goes through, and the impact of sustained trauma. If everybody had a clear understanding of the trauma involved in some of these roles, and the physical impacts of shift work before they signed up I doubt we would have police, firies or ambo’s, let alone nurses and paramedics…especially if they knew there would be no support to get through it. Like the millitary, there are simply some roles the community needs people to fill, and those people deserve our support, and gratitute, and yes, when the role triggers PTSD they should be financially supported. It’s no different to someone in the millitary coming back from war and suffering from physical injuries or PTSD. What you are saying is the equivalent to saying that someone who loses a leg after war should not be compensated or supported to make a new life.

    • With the new lieberal workers comp laws you better not let that papercut get infected because you not be covered.protect all nsw injured workers!

    • We are so lucky that everyone is different, Imagine if we were all self centered opinionated trolls. Helping others is it’s own reward, arriving at a chaotic scene and setting things right is a challenge I enjoyed. All we are asking is that now when we need help do not refuse us or shun us for being human.

      The huge payouts you refer to are mostly Commonwealth public servants who fall off exercise bikes because they are too fat and break them.

      Should you ever get hurt, trapped or assaulted I know you will be able to look after yourself, no need to call us right?

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      You are an idiot & a disgrace. Just pay off your fines you disgruntled fool – and when you need help – call the Taliban.

    • Beggars the question Stephen, who you gonna call? Not everyone is a self centered judgmental troll. To help others in their time of need is reward enough, to turn up at a chaotic scene and solve the problem is both challenging and rewarding, in our time of need all we are asking for is the right help instead of being shunned. 23 soldiers every day commit suicide as a result of their service trauma, but I suppose they knew what they were getting into right?

  • This is a disgrace, Police along with Ambulance and Firefighters all have high suicide rates compared to “normal society standards” yet are treated like lepers by insurance companies when they need help the most. For 30 years I held my job as a firefighter, it is not a weakness to suffer burnout, It is the strength it took to do those 30 years that has gone.

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      what is traumatic about fighting a fire once every two years?

      • So Pete, how many people at your work (you do work?) have committed suicide! I stopped counting at 25.

        102 house fires every week in NSW and firefighting makes up only 25% of our workload.

        Car accidents daily, industrial accidents (ever seen someone trapped in a metal shredder?)

        Hazardous materials spills (including attending clandestine drug labs that are often booby trapped)

        Storm and weather damage/rescue, plus a million other things we are called on to do. Assist Police gain entry, assist Ambulance when required. And should our little terrorist friends want to play guess who will be first on scene? All services have had the training which we thankfully have not had to use YET. It is not a matter of if but when this happens.

      • I guess it depends how many bodies you haul out of the fire and how much your life is in danger at the time?

      • Pete, I hope you never need our services but as always if you do we will be there. 100 house fires per week in NSW, firefighting is just 25% of our work which also includes Hazardous material incidents, industrial and vehicular rescue natural disasters and a myriad of other calls. Your complete lack of knowledge is not unusual in the community when it comes to understanding exactly want emergency services do on a daily basis. suffice to say while you sleep we are out on the streets cleaning up the mess people make of themselves in accidents etc, so when you drive to work there is no blood or torn flesh for you so see while you listen to the news. Like most people you never think twice about anyone else until you need help, then you scream “what kept you”.

        Take care Pete I would not want you getting a paper cut at work.

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        You realise that firies attend more than just fires right?

      • You’re forgetting car accidents and other rescue situations firefighters are involved in. Some of those would be horrible and I’m sure they take their toll on those who are involved.

    • True very true

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    This isn’t “spying” it is legitimate investigation of compensation claims to ensure they are correct and valid. I find it ironic and also hypocritical that former Police do not like being investigated. If they are legitimate claims and have nothing to hide then these former Police have nothing to fear from their claims being investigated.

    • Anthea, you are of course right. statistics do show a staggering 1% of these claims are fraudulent. (insurance company stats) The resources and money they throw at this is not about investigating as much as postponing any payout, Insurance companies make hundreds of thousands every year using this method. It’s just business to them,They still charge employers the same policies but slowing any payout is a great cash grab. put it like this, you have an accident in your car, make a claim and then wait 10 or so years for payment, seems fair right?

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    Police get better compensation than others.

    It should be a level playing field for all.

    I have PTSD from my employment and get even worse support than police.

    I support PTSD matters being settled quickly to help injured move on .

    But all injured workers should be treated the same.

    A fair go for all.

    Why do police get so much publicity when injuries occur in other occupations and no publicity.

  • about time some helped these people, as justice said they run in while we run out, I would like to say “thankyou” for the protection.

    • Thank you fed up…… if the Government keeps this farce going, when you are hanging off a cliff edge by a branch, no police officer will risk them selves to go near the edge to grab your hand for fear of going over, there is less paperwork and more support if you fell….. sad but true

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    I wouldn’t be a police officer for all the oil in Saudi Arabia. The absolute scum you have to deal with on a daily basis would make me a stay away.

    Thats why i and many others don’t sign up. Police officers know exactly what they are getting into when they sign up.

    Even though some Police officers are legitimately injured at work, I would say the majority are after a quick buck via the insurance companies. Especially those suffering a so-called psychological injuries . Amazing how many after a payout end up in security.

    Maybe the Police need to spend less time at Maccas getting half priced coffee and donuts and more time on the beat. My car was stolen a year ago. Still waiting for an arrest?

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      Yeah mate we do know what we’re getting into and yet we still do it every day, just to let you know what an average day is for an operational Police officer:

      Start work at 6am on arrival at the station you’re handed a list of outstanding work from the previous shift that were too busy dealing with drunken idiots to cater to the people who may have had a car stolen or malicious damage to their property. You try and get on top of it then a 000 call comes through maybe an accident or a domestic, more than likely its a deceased person, adult/child/baby take your pick, then you have to attend deal with the situation console the families involved. All the while the radio never stops and more calls for assistance come in but there isn’t anyone to take care of it so it goes on the list and you don’t stop, can’t stop for a meal so the only alternative is to get takeaway and eat that on the run in the car on the way to the next call.

      Then there is the paperwork involved with every incident you encounter, the arrests, the medical forms need to be completed to log the injuries you received when some junkie takes a swing at you or more than likely stabs you with a used syringe. Then you have to deal with the possibility you have just been infected with a serious permanent disease.

      Then back to the hospital as you’ve just been told that life support is just about to be turned of for a newborn that won’t survive the day.

      That’s no exaggeration and doesn’t even cover a full 12 hour shift, then do that for 300 days a year for 30 plus years until retirement.

      Yeah mate its all an exaggeration……and I knew exactly what I was getting into yet I still got up everyday knowing what the day would bring and did it all over again.

      Sorry I didn’t find who stole your car but I’m sure the insurance cheque you got no doubt made up for it.


      see more

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        See post below.

        Idiot? Once again name calling because someone disagrees with your opinion shows your lack of professionalism. This isnt primary school. Come back to me in an educated manner and the public may start respecting the badge again.

        • *Snort*….you can’t even handle being criticised online and yet you have the gaul to criticise braver and better for enduring something you have no concept of!

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          You get what you give in this world, you show no respect so you get none in return, welcome to my world of daily abuse and where dealing with self centred idiots is just the norm. Nice aint it?

    • No!, police officers do not know what they are getting themselves in for. Dealing with the ‘scum’ is a piece of cake. It’s the hidden side of policing, that is unknown prior to joining, that creates the risk. These are the things never advertised in recruitment campaigns. Watching a cop show on television doesn’t count for knowing what policing is all about.

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      So, because you believe that only “some” police officers are legitimately injured and not all, those who are legitimately injured should be delayed necessary compensation? Is it your contention that because cops visit donut shops and drink “half-priced” coffee, they are neglecting their duties and using that time instead to conspire felonious get-rich-quick schemes? How many car thieves do you think actually wait for the beat cop to be walking bye before they break a window and make off with a car? BTW: a lot of the car thefts investigated here of late are fraud claims reported by owners who are in financial trouble. None the less, it would be unfair and insensitive for anyone to suggest that ALL car thefts are fraud and therefore the discussion of compensation or remedy wasn’t worthy of anything more than sarcasm. I fully feel your pain regarding the car– I have been there myself. It sucks. Nonetheless, from start to finish, getting a cop out onto the street is an extremely costly investment to the tax payers. So, instead of ignoring this condition and choosing to classify it as “so-called”, agencies need to accept that it is real, the if left untreated it becomes more disabling, and that prevention and treatment may lower costs to the tax payer and the devastating impact to the officer.

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      Homerjay. Your attitude towards police is typical of someone with a criminal history. Walk a mile in the shoes of police and your attitude would change. But you probably wont as your not cut out to do the heavy lifting the community expects. As for your car being stolen. The majority of car thefts now days are insurance fraud related. How was the payout..

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        Quite funny stephen because it was a bomb car that had no insurance whatsoever. And because there was no surveillance cameras around the coppers said they could do nothing about it. In his words ” too bad, you should have had insurance”

        But iam concerned that as a police officer you assumed i was guilty of a fraud related crime. It highlights your lack of professionalism and highlights community concerns in regards to policing.

        And knowing plenty of police, you may want to know that many past and present police officers are sceptical about those choosing to resign and get payouts due to stress. They’re your worse critics!

        While these guys are doing the real policing, iam sure you will be at maccas enjoying your half price coffee and donut.

    • Homerjay, I think you could also do with a bit of empathy and compassion.

      Psychological injuries are no less serious than physical ones and can have a massive impact on people’s lives.

      With some of the horrific situations our police are involved in, is it any wonder that some officers suffer psychological damage?

      We should be thanking these people for putting themselves on the line to serve our society and helping them when they need it.

      But maybe it’s more important that they drop everthing to find whoever stole your car and arrest them? That would have to be one of the most self-centred comments I’ve ever read on here.

    • I’d love to see you back up all these assertions with some statistics.

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    I Am the Officer

    I have been where you fear to be,

    I have seen what you fear to see,

    I have done what you fear to do –

    All these things I have done for you.

    I am the person you lean upon,

    The one you cast your scorn upon,

    The one you bring your troubles to –

    All these people I’ve been for you.

    The one you ask to stand apart,

    The one you feel should have no heart,

    The one you call The Officer in Blue,

    But I’m just a person, just like you.

    And through the years I’ve come to see,

    That I am not always what you ask of me;

    So, take this badge … take this gun …

    Will you take it … will anyone?

    And when you watch a person die

    And hear a battered baby cry,

    Then do you think that you can be

    All these things you ask of me?

    – Author Unknown

  • They push you off the wall until you become humpty dumpty……. all the Kings Horses and all the Kings Men….. cannot ever put you back together again

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    The treatment of officers in the States is not much better. Often the medical doctors act as gate-keepers for the insurance management companies, who ultimately direct the injured officer to a few weeks of P/T and seem to always overlook the more serious injuries, causing the officer to further damage their body. They also seem to overlook the wide-scale prescribing of painkillers, knowing full-well that the officer should not be using them while in service. I have witnessed a number of fantastic police officers go up in flames from addictions that were likely brought on by the “take a pill and go to line-up in the morning” conveyer belt.

    And then there are the delays in treatment for exacerbations. The already bad knee gets kicked by a perpetrator and the insurance company makes the cop wait two months and hire a lawyer in order to get the claim honored. Imagine, waiting months for a knee injury? Yet somehow, the same management company, along with the command, begin pestering the officer as to when they will be able to return to full duty. After the initial back-and-forth between lawyers, a “One-time-visit” is often agreed upon, whereby and in-the-tank doctor suggests that a specific treatment would help, ie. a cortisone injection. And then it’s back onto the wheel– more time waiting for an approval.

    If an officer should happen to sustain a TBI (concussion), the officer will likely be treated as if he/she is an unfit– resulting in temporary suspension and the removal of their service weapon, their statutory powers of arrest, and their badge. The process of being screened and cleared by a neuropsychologist and psychiatrist can take months. All the while, the officers is now forced to live within the community they work without the simplest protections of their own firearm. This of course is a game to dissuade claims of head trauma, so God only knows what pathologies we will be learning about in the future regarding officers and head injuries that were left untreated.

    And yes, the support quickly dwindles as the officer becomes persona non grata within the agency. The sentiment is often intentionally floated down from the upper command, which is only concerned with budgetary staffing. Once the cherished toy quickly becomes the three-wheeled matchbox, the sentiment is then capitalized on by the few bottom-feeders within the ranks who desire upward-mobility out of the bag and into the safety of an office– the test-takers.

    And none of this even begins to expand upon the PTSD or any other related anxieties of the job. Nope! Just go toss a few pops back with the others and bring your problems home. After a few divorces and raising a bunch of kids who think you’re a monster, after the endless bouts with insomnia– checking the house and property for all of the ghosts in your past, after wrestling with the inability to believe in the things you once believed in, after learning to live with the fact that even smells can trip you out and force you into a memory hole that last for hours sometimes and changes your mood, after all of these things and more, the insurance management groups just continue with their charade and another ambitious new toy is now working that post you thought for sure you were going to permanently rid of crime one day– back when you were the favorite new toy.



Illawarra Mercury                             Friday  12 December 2014



Why this Illawarra cop is treated like an outcast

Dec. 11, 2014, 9:30 p.m.

Twins Karol, left, and Judy Blackley. Pictures: KIRK GILMOUR
Twins Karol, left, and Judy Blackley. Pictures: KIRK GILMOUR

Twin sisters Karol and Judy Blackley had no idea when they both became police officers how differently their careers would pan out, reports CYDONEE MARDON.

Twin sisters Karol and Judy Blackley served side by side in the NSW Police Force, often at the same crime scenes, yet their emotional responses to the horrors of police work are poles apart.

Karol developed chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and was treated like an outcast, receiving very little support from her colleagues and the people she considered family.

Judy, on the other hand, is still a serving police officer working in the Illawarra.

Above and below: Mercury reports on the twins from 1992 and 1991.
Above and right: Mercury reports on the twins from 1992 and 1991.

Karol and Judy Blackley 4

[blockquote]‘‘I take medication to sleep, through wake up, to get through the day. I will most likely have to take this medication for the rest of my life.’’[/blockquote]

‘‘I did not ask for chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, but when I got it, there was no contact from anyone, except for a routine phone call before an HR meeting,’’ Karol said this week.

‘‘No visits, no caring commander, nothing. Six WorkCover case officers, not one of them making any effort for me to be booked into a psychiatrist to prescribe sufficient medication for me to sleep. They offered me the Yellow Pages to source my own.’’

Karol is breaking ranks and speaking out about her struggle to highlight the lack of support services for police.

She believes serving officers are too afraid to come forward for fear of reprisals in the ‘‘grin and bear it’’ culture of the police force.

Karol is a former Police officer and has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her twin sister Judy is a still a serving police officer.
Karol is a former Police officer and has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her twin sister Judy is a still a serving police officer.

Karol is urging the NSW government to follow the lead of the New York Police Department and offer 20-year redundancies.

‘‘That would stop sick people being forced back to work to the point where they become so psychologically damaged they cannot work anywhere due to the relentless symptoms they now have to be medicated for,’’ Karol said.

‘‘I take medication to sleep, to wake up, to get through the day. I will most likely have to take this medication for the rest of my life.’’

Post-traumatic stress disorder was preventable with proper support, she said.

‘‘A 20-year redundancy would allow people to have a dignified exit. Instead, you find yourself being followed by WorkCover surveillance because they think you are bludging, being deceptive. It’s a psychological illness. You don’t go from being an honest person to a lying fraudster for $300 a week.’’

Karol started in general duties at Lake Illawarra in 1991. By then her sister had been two years in the job at Sutherland general duties.

Lake Illawarra was, and still is, a busy and demanding command.

‘‘During my four years there I was exposed to many homicides, vehicle pursuits where I feared for my life, and arrests at gunpoint,’’ Karol said.

In 1994 she moved to Cronulla and began a career as a detective.

Judy worked in Rostering until her sixth year in the police where she went to Hurstville Crime Scene as a fingerprint technician. Judy’s day-to-day work involved examining homicide crime scenes and identifying corpses at the morgue.

‘‘I was also exposed to many unpleasant homicide scenes, suicides, accidental deaths, armed robber arrests at gunpoint, pursuits, sieges and high risk jobs,’’ Karol said.

The difference was that Judy mastered the skill of detaching.

She could treat each scene scientifically.

Karol, on the other hand, couldn’t avoid becoming attached to the victims she met, and their suffering families.

The photographs, coroners’ briefs and court appearances were all reminders of the horrors.

Every three months, Judy received a psychological ‘‘well check’’ because she belonged to a specialist unit and was offered all the counselling she needed.

‘‘All this time I was attached to a local area command and offered nothing,’’ Karol said.

‘‘In local area commands, if you went off sick you had to produce a medical certificate stating your illness. When you have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or depression or anxiety you don’t know you are sick. You rely on other people to notice you are not coping. The police culture meant you turned up to work no matter what.’’

In 2000, the twin sisters worked on the same homicide at Sutherland – Karol as an investigator on the strike force and Judy examining the bloody crime scene.

‘‘We saw the same scene but I had to stay on the case until the investigation was completed. I wasn’t offered any psychological support. Judy was.’’

The sisters both worked their way up to the rank of detective sergeant in Parramatta and that’s where Karol succumbed to several symptoms of PTSD.

‘‘I had investigated and was exposed to six violent murders in two years. I began to get very depressed, and the anxiety was consuming,’’ she said.

‘‘I applied for every other position off the front line to give myself a break but I couldn’t get a position that wasn’t in the detectives. There is simply nowhere to go.

‘‘I often worked more than 15 hours’ overtime a fortnight and was on call days in a row. This exacerbated my insomnia issues because I was often subjected to 19-hour shifts, interrupted sleep, and there was constant pressure waiting for the phone to ring to come into work to face more trauma.’’

Karol’s mental and physical health deteriorated until she had full blown chronic PTSD and despite being diagnosed in early 2010, she was forced back to the front line.

‘‘With 20 years of front-line exposure it is almost impossible for the mind to keep the bad things from constantly entering your  thoughts,’’ she said.

‘‘You have flashbacks and everything in your perception is a crime scene or danger zone.

‘‘You can’t see things from a non policing perspective any more.  Your friends and family can see it, they stop inviting you places because now you’re just an obsessive negative person … you just can’t see it yourself.’’

It was during her final shift as a police officer that Karol felt the full weight of her sickness and the reality of being alone.

‘‘I had to get my sister to return my uniform and warrant card and badge once I’d gone,’’ she said.

‘‘No-one showed any interest in collecting it or contacting me for it. I was just gone, that was it.’’

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  • Stay strong Karol, the Police Force has a lot to answer for. Too many great Police Officers are being tossed to the heap because after the Police Officer witnessed one too many horrific incidents. When is the Police Force going to realise the Members of the Police Force are human and not robots. No one should have to experience the things that Police Officers experience (most of them everytime they are on duty) see the aftermath of a car accident. Or seeing the aftermath of a violent assault (sometimes being assaulted themselves) I feel for the Police officers who service to protect the community only to be let down by people who has forgotten what it is like being a Police Officer and now sit behind a desk.

    • Thank you live star…. work cover have now decided because I can work the computer to reply that I can work again in the cops……

      • Please stay strong Karol and make sure you have someone that you can talk to. I am so sorry that the Police Force that you took an oath to serve has let you down you deserve so much more and I hope that things change for you and your fellow Police Officers with better support and understanding. I hope you and your family both personal and your working family have a very Merry Christmas.

        Just know that there are people that are very proud of our Police Officers.

      • OMG they are so incredibly abusive! What are they waiting for – that you become catatonic and curled up in foetal position? Karol I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I have PTSD from abuse I suffered in childhood – so I know it is not something anyone would ever want to have! Kindest regards, Kristin

        PS You may find better support on‘s lived experience forum where there’s at least one other former officer with PTSD. At least the folk there “get it”.

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    To all Police Officers,

    I am so sorry that a beautiful country like Australia treats the people who protect us in such a disgusting way. They should be ashamed. You are truly valued by the decent members of society.

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    One of the best female officers I worked with and a sad loss for the State of NSW.

    The whole injury sytem is a joke, covered by smoke and mirrors. All to protect the Government, Police Management and contracted Insurers.

    There is thousands of victims of this vial system whom are now unemployed. living below the poverty line and treated like dirt by the Government and their master the NSW Police Commissioner.

    Unfortunately some have suicided. RIP…

    Officers joining now should be informed of their pathetic injury benefits and lack of support.

    The Police scrap heap will await them when injured.

    This women has been injured in the line of her duties protecting the State of NSW and is treated like a dole bludger and or a criminal.

    She will be a further target now as she has had the guts to blow the whistle on the cronies, something most others would not do as reprisals are a reality.

    The treatment of injured police, pre and post discharge is appalling.

    Officers are bullied by Police Management whom instruct the insurer to undertake the dirty deeds to a point the officer looks at suicide as the only sad option.

    Furthermore, Shame on you NSW Governments, both past and present, especially the former Liberal Premier Nick Greiner and Ted Pickering, whom changed the Superannuation and injury benefits for injured NSW Police.

    These changes were originated by the former Unsworth Labor Government and Nick Greiner implemented these changes against his promise to keep the system how it originally was.

    All these benifit changes for Police whilst Greiner and Co both pre and post 2007 elected politicians still and or will enjoy either a 100k + lifetime taxpayer funded yearly pension and or huge lump sum payout or both.


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    Well done Karol on speaking out! I am a sufferer of PTSD as well having served in the Police Force. I received the same lack of care and response from the Police. A week after I left, I had a phone call from my Commander, not to ask how was I going but to simply check if I was coming back or not so I could be replaced. What a thankless job!

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    Can the Mercury make sure the Police Commissioner get a copy of this story & the feedback from fellow Officers & the community who are obviously outraged at the treatment of Police. Andrew Scipione is quick to get his face in the Media for the good news stories… Where is he on the bad news stories. Its a shame we don’t get to vote for the person appointed to this vey important roll, I doubt he would get the job judging by the state of the Force.

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    I succumb to PTSD after 24 years operational Policing and it took 7 years of litigation to get my lawful entitlements and was discharged, in all of that time I had no job, no income and never received a welfare check, phone call or email from my colleagues or management NOTHING.

    The PTSD I could handle I knew why I was suffering what I was with that, it was the compounding effect of the isolation that did the most damage, people I had known for the majority of my adult life would cross the road to avoid having to speak with me. I felt worthless and alone and I have to admit I was having difficulty finding a reason to stay alive, luckily I did or I would just be another nameless statistic.

    Of course PTSD can strike anyone and the longer you remain in a toxic environment the greater the risk, one by one the people that shunned me succumb to the same problems. The hypocritical part is that they all came knocking on my door seeking the support that they refused to give to me.

    I remember who stood by me and I would walk over hot coals for them, the rest they can go to hell!

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    To be a Police Officer you have to be a very special person, a person who is strong, fair, has empathy, not judgemental, impartial, is able to control emotions, intelligent, make split second decisions and above all, detach your mind from reality when needed. What I have described here is in real terms a human robot. The problem is , we are all individuals and therefore different, we react differently to any given situation and we have different emotional responses. As a ex NSW Police Officer in the 60’s to the 80’s I am well aware of the issues raised here. In those days there was no suport for psycological issues after witnessing a postmortem on a 6 month old baby due to SIDS or the accidental drowning of young boys in the Lake, road trauma etc, all of which stay with you, to haunt you and the NSW Government could not care less, the NSW Police Dept could not care less and the close association between work mates have long evaporated due to the corruption enquiries and promotion system. I have personally seen the total disregard for injured Police, their battles against bullying, intimidation, deprivation of services, denial of natural justice. Now we also have the watering down of compensation, support for injured Officers the total lack of support on the street when confronted by human garbage and the lack of respect shown generally including the Courts. Why bother caring, no one else does. Hope you get better soon and have a happy and safe Christmas .

    • HOF you are hundred percent correct…. those qualities are hard to keep up in a mad world but we do it… until we crack …..not robot. Police SACRIFICE what the people who are not Police take for granted. Working Christmas day, Easter, night shift, obscene hours. Obscene jobs. We did it with pride offering the Best to the community we could but we could only do it for so long……. some people want to be police but don’t want to make the sacrifice….

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    Some years ago after a Police passing out ceremony I overheard the comment..quote “These poor little bastards,they have no idea what they are in for!”

    Didn’t understand at the time but I sure as hell know now.

    Thank god our daughter changed her mind and found nursing .

    Where is this great police union for its members.

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    Be strong, Bear. Look to the horizon, every day is a good day.

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    Thank you Karol for many years of service to protect the community.

    I pray that you can heal and that Govt and Police will take responsibility for the issues and do something about it. I know many paramedics in the Illawarra who are burnt out due to long shifts, no breaks and forced overtime. Many are stressed due to bullying from managers who seem to have forgotten where they came from and have developed a sense of apathy to their subordinates. Stay strong Karol.

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    I feel your pain Karol. It makes me feel sick reading and fully understanding what you are going through. I have tried to move on and battle every day to stay afloat. The NSW police and the NSW government are a disgrace. My sibling is now going through the same things we have all gone through. My wife, my parents and loved ones have now got to go through it for a third time. Combined family commitment of 45 years to the service and my family is a bettered mess. What a joke.

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    I understand your plight. It is not only the PTSD that are mistreated by the NSW Police Force. It is also the current serving officers being mistreated and bullied at a command level by senior officers that should know better and forget who they once were.

  • The sheer numbers of Police that have been medically discharged over the years and who all tell the same story of neglect and administrative persecution, I would have thought, would be sufficient impetus for the basis of a class action on grounds of neglect of duty of care.

    By my calculations (rough as they are) there are upwards of 5000 ex-Police in NSW suffering major psychological disorders as a result of their service to the Community, and they are suffering alone… that’s a disgrace.

    • They rely on the fallen being silent and unable to gather the strength to take on the Government as it is too hard. Now we have the internet and social media there is no longer anywhere for the People who put this ludicrous system in place to hide, and now start to acknowledge the reality that if you are a Police Officer it will change you and often destroy you…. They pretend it does not happen….. but it does…… so as you say they get medically discharged and end up individually lodging civil action for neglect….. the pay out and legal cost when they invariably lose would go a long way to funding a ‘dignified exit’ redundancy scheme for 15-20-25 years……. you could leave before it was chronic and you are suicidal.

  • I am staying strong thanks to journalists that want to know the truth.

  • Hats off to The Illawarra Mercury for printing & Cydonee for reporting this in such a well balanced and sympathetic manner! Such a stand-out when one looks at so much media coverage of any kind of mental illness – stigmatising and vilifying from start to finish. So a big thank you! Cheers, Kristin

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    This is a sad story. The odd thing is that both sister’s seem like outstanding ‘cops’. I think the culture of the force is harsh and I have never understood anyone wanting to be a part of it. There’s so many other ways to make a living. Best wishes to both of you. Happy outcome…

  • Seasons blessings and joy to you and yours Carol and Judy in you endeavouring to preserver I recommend some alternative nutrients / supplements that are available to you for your health and longevity, With thanks for your service to your community


Illawarra Mercury            Thursday  11 December 2014



The private pain of policing

Dec. 5, 2014, 9:30 p.m.

NSW Fallen Police FB page logo
NSW Fallen Police FB page logo

When Steve Brown burst into tears on the way to his brother’s wedding, no-one knew what was wrong, or how to console him.

Steve didn’t know either.

This wasn’t common behaviour for a cop with 17 years’ experience out in the field, chasing crooks and dealing with life and death situations on any given day.

In hindsight it was the pile-up of little things – or not so little – that caused the senior constable’s meltdown on that special family day.

And it changed his life forever.

“At the time you just run on adrenalin and carry on but looking back there were so many things,” the former Nowra man said.

“I grew up one of five kids, so I was used to contact and a bit of biff, but when you actually use a baton to break a guy’s kneecap, that’s not a good feeling,” he said.

“This guy was going for my gun, I had to fight for my life … the other guy in the truck with me just sat there scared shitless.

“You have to defend yourself, it’s you or them. But then you’ve got to go through court, explain yourself and you’re worried you’re going to get into trouble. It’s a bloody awful feeling from start to finish.”

Mr Brown was working in a NSW country region when he succumbed to the stresses of the job and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He’d worked in some heavy-duty Sydney police stations where he’d seen too many dead bodies, dealt with too much gang violence and chased too many drug dealers.

He’s still kept awake at night by the memory of confronting an armed offender who’d just shot an innocent bystander in the head.

Mr Brown thought life as a country cop might ease the tension and anxiety that was slowly building inside of him.

But highway patrol brought the father of two its own grief.

In a small town of 3000 people, chances are high that the next mangled body in a car wreck could be someone you know.

“I had three in six months, people I knew that I had to see on their death beds. These are some savage prangs, it just all builds up and looking back, I see a lot of reasons why I got like this.”

Mr Brown went to his GP in May 2012 when “the adrenalin wouldn’t shut down” and stopped him from sleeping. He was relieved to hear a psychologist was on the way, but was soon let down when he realised the appointment was more about defining the terms of any potential compensation claim than his emotional well-being.

“It wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about my welfare. That was really shit.”

For the next few months, Mr Brown worked restricted hours and was “up and down” until finally one day “it just all got to me and I cried my eyes out”.

He was discharged from the NSW Police on June 20, 2013.

“It wasn’t a relief, it was shit,” he recalls.

“Half your life is spent slogging it out for the good of humanity and then you’re just out on your own.

“I get 75 per cent of what I was on for five years and then I get nothing.

“It used to be until you retired but then the politicians changed all that.

“It’s a bit different to the hefty pensions they receive.”

During his time on sick leave, Mr Brown found a second job, approved by the police service, to avoid “sitting home moody, thinking about things”.

“You have to keep busy, get out and do things or you could end up topping yourself,” he said.

While his money will run out in a few years, his life has been changed for ever.

“You still wake up with bad dreams, you think about things you’ve done, you doubt yourself. I drink too much, I can’t stop smoking. I get angry too much, that’s not like me.”

Mr Brown said PTSD has robbed him of more than his police career.

“With my condition, I have memory loss, I’ve forgotten a lot of the bad stuff but the good stuff is gone,” he said.

“When I got out, I went for a job as a trainee engineer but my brain won’t function like it used to.

“I’ve had to go for a job that requires less training and less qualifications. The works comp ethos is get people back to where they were before the PTSD but that’s not going to happen. I have a brain trauma and there’s scar tissue from that.

“It’s not going to work any more. I’m not able to make the money I could make before or have the lifestyle I could have before all this.”

Police trauma inquiry sought

With police officers five times more likely to die by their own hands than in the course of duty, there are renewed calls for a parliamentary inquiry into how the NSW Police Force and insurers deal with serving and former officers who have suffered psychological injuries.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said the NSW Police Force treated its officers like disposable assets and ‘‘once injured they are thrown on the scrap heap’’.

He said delays in deciding compensation cases, along with ‘‘aggressive use of surveillance, can seriously aggravate an officer’s psychological injury’’.

Mr Shoebridge, who hosted a forum this week where officers from across the state shared their stories, said the government had failed to address the problem, leaving hundreds of injured police fighting long and lonely battles against insurers MetLife.

Police Minister Stuart Ayres said he was disappointed former officers were experiencing stress as a result of surveillance techniques used by MetLife.

“The NSW Police Force has advised me it has met with MetLife and the First State Superannuation Trustee Corporation to address the delay in assessing claims.”

A MetLife spokeswoman said post-traumatic stress disorder was a serious and complex issue and it was working closely with all parties to resolve outstanding claims. MetLife had paid more than $156million in benefits to former NSW police officers, she said.

Slater and Gordon lawyer John Cox said it was encouraging to see greater awareness about the issue.

‘‘As a police compensation lawyer, I am working with many former officers who have developed post-traumatic stress disorder and, sadly, are not recovering as a result of insurance company Metlife failing to handle their compensation claims in an appropriate and timely way.

‘‘The NSW government needs to immediately establish an independent panel to resolve the approximately 240 to 260 total permanent disability outstanding claims and also implement robust procedures to prevent mismanagement and gross delays of future claims,’’ Mr Cox said.

Something had to be done to ensure police officers who once put their lives on the line to protect the community obtained the compensation to which they were entitled, he said.



Back injuries, muscle strains                  4.29
Hit by moving object                                2.81
Mental stress                                              2.15
Falls, trips and slips                                  2.01
Biological factors                                       1.23
Vehicle incidents and other                    1.18
Hit object with body part                        1.07
Hazardous materials                               0.31
Environmental factors                            0.08
Sound and pressure                                 0.05



  • I feel for my brothers and sisters in Police Fire and the military. The unique nature of working in the field, in uncontrolled environments within small teams to address critical incidents has its’ own unique support requirements. Who’s caring for the carers? Organisations HAVE come a long way in recent years but if their services fail to meet the needs of individuals these same organisations are only too quick to say they’ve met their obligations and throw loyal and committed staff members on the scrap heap, isolated and forgotten. Shame on us and the Ministers RESPONSIBLE for workplace safety and welfare for allowing and enabling this. Godspeed to you my broken colleagues. Stay strong, we DO care.

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      Agree VP. It always angers me off when I read ignorant comments in the media and in online forums by pathetic keyboard jockeys who lay crap on our police (& the military at times) but have no bloody idea of the enormity or scope of what these people face or experience. Most of these gutless wonders would not last a day (I wouldn’t) dealing with beaten women, abused kids, mangled bodies, armed crack-heads, alcohol fueled violence, etc, as well as the associated paperwork, and then defending themselves against any and every accusation by the criminals themselves and their support group of defence lawyers, civil libertarians and do-gooders The general public and our criminal justice systems need to overtly support our serving police so much more, and also lobby our state members to support those who have had to stand aside due to mental issues..

      This is an extremely good social study article that should be compulsory discussion in our schools and be referred to in religious sermons in coming weeks.

  • I would agree, most organisations have not come a long way in supporting employed staff and volunteers. They have implement media policy structures to mitigate perceived risks.

    As long as I can remember and in recent years, their services fail to meet the needs of individual and in some cases border on negligence. These same organisations are only too quick to say they’ve met their obligations and throw loyal and committed staff members on the scrap heap, isolated and forgotten.

    Shame on Ministers RESPONSIBLE for workplace safety and welfare for allowing and enabling this.

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    You know what the job entails when you sign up. No sympathy here. As a law abiding citizen, I get pretty peezed when I get spoken to a certain way by people in uniform. The stuff you hear about how some people are treated by them and they of course ultimately get away with it. Again, no sympathy here.

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      And your caustic, holier than thou comments are why I have precious little faith in human kind.

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      Wow Miranda, you read an article about this police officer who has suffered a psychological injury – confronting a person who has just murdered someone, and being first on the scene at fatal roadside accidents, and no sympathy from you because ‘you are a law abiding citizen and you get peezed about they way police speak to you’ perhaps from your comments you may need to have a look at your own attitude, it really blows me away at how ignorant some people can be – I for one am thankful this police officer is still alive and not another statistic – 5 times more likely to die from their own hands than in the line of duty….. Have a think about that Miranda, and just think that the next time you are spoken to poorly by a police officer, maybe they have just been to the scene of a nasty domestic dispute, or been spat on by a drug dealer, or had to tell a family their son has died in a road accident….

      Cops are tops – keep up the great work

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      Wow really Miranda, I would like to see you walk a week or two in their shoes. It’s the old saying, if you can’t see the injury than it doesn’t exist. Such a load of hogwash.

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      First they need to get rid of the military stormtrooper look; combat pants and bristling with weapons and equipment, and tucking pants legs into combat boots.

      The army tucks pant legs into the tops of their boots to keep out creepy crawlies such as leeches when they are out in the boonies, but I fail to see how police who spend most of their time driving around in cars or sitting at a desk are at risk of insects crawling up their legs.

      It’s a good insight into how most police see themselves.



Illawarra Mercury                   Friday  5 December 2014




The Forgotten 300

This morning ( 15 January 2014 ) I was called to the office of Mr David McCabe, the Solicitor who underwrites this page ( The Forgotten 300 ). Following is a message I was asked by him to pass onto you all. “Expressions of Interest are being sought for a class action against MetLife Ltd, TAL Life Limited, Employers Mutual Limited and the NSW Police Department. Submissions are sought from any and all previously serving NSW Police Officers who have been in one or more of the following situations:

1. A “Pre ’88 officer who had their medical discharge declined or has had their application for medical discharge outstanding for more than 6 months.

2. Any NSW Police officer medically discharged under the MetLife insurance scheme who had their application declined, or has an application outstanding for more than 6 months, or has had their application settled but MetLife Ltd took more than 6 months from the date of your medical discharge to settle the claim.

3. Any NSW Police Officer medically discharged under the TAL insurance scheme who had their application declined, or has an application outstanding for more than 6 months, or has had their application settled but TAL took more than 6 months from the date of your medical discharge to settle the claim.

4. Any Medically Discharged NSW Police Officer who has been the subject of surveillance by any of the above listed companies, where children under the age of 16 were photographed or videoed by the private investigator conducting the surveillance.

5. Any Medically Discharged NSW Police Officer who has been bullied or harassed by their case worker at Employers Mutual Limited or has been paid their section 67 payment on an ongoing IRREGULAR basis and has had to phone the company to get their payment processed.

6. Any Medically Discharged NSW Police Officer forced to attend more than 2 specialist appointments by any 1 of the above listed companies.

7. Any legally recognised partner or Next of Kin, of a NSW Police Officer who has committed suicide due to ongoing bullying and harassment in the workplace OR as a direct result of the actions of one or more of the above named companies, weather the death was before Medical Discharge or after.

Could everyone who falls into one or more of these categories please contact the office of McCabe Partners Lawyers on 02 6382 6500, Email:  prior to the 31st January 2014.”

Thanks guys.

Sorry it was so long winded, but things are looking up.

Please don’t contact me, I am just passing on a message.

Thursday:  16 January 2014:

I’ve been informed by numerous members that case managers are now phoning wanting to know if they are going into the class action.Legal advice is this.”If you are taking up the class action, your involvement is covered by solicitor/client privilege. You do NOT have to disclose this information.”

Former police call for more to be done to address suicide rates in the force

Natalie Whiting reported this story on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 18:38:00            Listen to audio version here

DAVID MARK: Two former police officers who have suffered from post traumatic stress disorder say more needs to be done to address suicide rates in the police force.

Lifeline and Beyond Blue have backed calls for more research into the rates of suicide in various occupations in an attempt to help prevent more self-harm.

Here’s Natalie Whiting.

NATALIE WHITING: Craig Campbell was medically discharged from the New South Wales Police Force in 2009, after a severe break down due to post traumatic stress disorder.

CRAIG CAMPBELL: It’s a build up over many years. The police, ever since I joined in 1988, it’s always been, you know, pump up mate or your debrief was going and drinking alcohol, which, as we all know, is a very strong depressant.

NATALIE WHITING: He believes the stigma surrounding mental illness is stopping officers seeking help.

CRAIG CAMPBELL: When you go to work, you put on this mask because you don’t want to be seen to be weak by your peers and there’s a lot of peer pressure still in the New South Wales Police that you are seen to be weak if you put your hand up and ask for help.

NATALIE WHITING: Mr Campbell believes there’s been almost 30 serving or former police officers commit suicide since 2007.

The New South Wales Police Force disputes the figure, saying it’s much lower, but won’t give a number.

An attempted suicide by a serving officer in the Illawarra region at Christmas has lead Mr Campbell to call for a Royal Commission.

CRAIG CAMPBELL: I’d like to see at least the police recognise that there is a problem and not try to cover it all.

NATALIE WHITING: Allan Sparkes was a Detective Senior Constable with the New South Wales police and was awarded the Cross of Valour for bravery after rescuing a young boy trapped in a flooded drain pipe in 1996.

In 1998 he was medically discharged from the police force suffering with PTSD and depression.

He says he’d also like to see some kind of an inquiry.

ALLAN SPARKES: I’m concerned about the term royal commission, because that sort of tends to say there’s got to be some blame, or something. But there needs to be a government inquiry on a national and international basis to just work out why people develop these illnesses and what can be done to counter them.”

NATALIE WHITING: Mr Sparkes says there needs to be more research into the biological causes.

ALLAN SPARKES: What we have missed for so long is learning why the body responds to traumatic events, such as adrenal overload and adrenal fatigue and excessive cortisone levels and those reactions then cause a snowballing effect of deterioration within your physical health, which ultimately leads to a deterioration in mental health, which opens the door to PTSD, depression, anxiety and like-illnesses.

NATALIE WHITING: The CEO of Beyond Blue, Kate Carnell, says the traumatic or life threatening events and stress encountered by police officers means they can be more likely to develop mental health issues.

KATE CARNELL: It’s not good enough just to have a debrief after an event, you really need to follow up. A follow up at possibly four weeks, maybe three months and 12 months.

NATALIE WHITING: But she says statistics about suicide in the police force aren’t available.

KATE CARNELL: It’s interesting trying to get accurate figures in this space and we certainly don’t have them, but we know that 33 men die every week in Australia as a result of suicide; we know those figures are higher in areas where workplaces are very stressful, so that would be the police force.

NATALIE WHITING: The CEO of Lifeline, Jane Hayden, agrees that more research is needed.

JANE HAYDEN: I think it would be extremely helpful to have some research into the rates by occupation; we don’t have very good data on this in Australia. Having that research and that data gives you a groundwork from then to put in place measures to reduce the suicide rates.

NATALIE WHITING: PM contacted every Australian police force, but no one was available for comment.

DAVID MARK: Natalie Whiting prepared that report.

Help is available. Go and see your doctor, your GP or call Lifeline: 13 11 14.

Officers discharged from NSW Police call for inquiry into treatment of former police

A GROUP of police officers discharged from NSW Police after suffering post-traumatic stress want an inquiry into bullying and harassment in the force. The disgruntled officers have banded together in support after all were discharged as medically unfit within the past few years.

They have also been backed by former assistant police commissioner Mark Goodwin.

The officers claim bullying and harassment are endemic in the ranks, particularly in relation to officers regarded as “whistleblowers”.

Karol Blackley, who was discharged from her $130,000-a-year role as a senior detective at Surry Hills last November, said she wasn’t provided with mental support after working on several traumatic cases, which included the 2006 murder of Barry Corbett, who was stabbed 30 times and had his penis chopped off and shoved in a bedside drawer by his girlfriend’s ex-husband Gabor Ziha.

Despite repeatedly complaining to her superiors that she was sick and couldn’t cope, Ms Blackley claims she was pressured to keep working, eventually suffering a nervous breakdown that landed her in a mental ward.

Colleague Michelle Portlock was discharged at the end of 2011, three years after suffering her first break-down on the side of a road in 2008.

John Manton, Karol Blackley and Michelle Portlock are all former NSW Police employees. Source: News Limited

A GROUP of police officers discharged from NSW Police after suffering post-traumatic stress want an inquiry into bullying and harassment in the force.

The disgruntled officers have banded together in support after all were discharged as medically unfit within the past few years.

They have also been backed by former assistant police commissioner Mark Goodwin.

The officers claim bullying and harassment are endemic in the ranks, particularly in relation to officers regarded as “whistleblowers”.

Karol Blackley, who was discharged from her $130,000-a-year role as a senior detective at Surry Hills last November, said she wasn’t provided with mental support after working on several traumatic cases, which included the 2006 murder of Barry Corbett, who was stabbed 30 times and had his penis chopped off and shoved in a bedside drawer by his girlfriend’s ex-husband Gabor Ziha.

Despite repeatedly complaining to her superiors that she was sick and couldn’t cope, Ms Blackley claims she was pressured to keep working, eventually suffering a nervous breakdown that landed her in a mental ward.

Colleague Michelle Portlock was discharged at the end of 2011, three years after suffering her first break-down on the side of a road in 2008.


John Manton, Karol Blackley and Michelle Portlock are all former NSW Police employees.

John Manton, Karol Blackley and Michelle Portlock are all former NSW Police employees. Source: News Limited

Thousands miss out on post traumatic stress disorder treatment

Former Miranda Police detective John Manton claims he suffered 14 years of harassment and bullying in the force after “blowing the whistle” on an ex-colleague he accused of corrupt activity.

Mr Goodwin, who himself took stress leave and was medically discharged after being criticised in the official report into the Cronulla riots, says many officers are being subjected to long delays in having their claims processed and are put under surveillance by the underwriter of NSW Police insurance claims, Metlife, all of which compounds their medical problems.

“They are genuinely sick people and internally (in the police), they’re probably treated quite wrongly as whingers and possibly bludging or rorting the system, whereas that is – in the greatest majority of cases – not true,” he says.

The Police Association of NSW is working with cops and the trustees of the insurance provider to make sure they deal with the backlog of claims in a way that’s compassionate to the injured cops.

A NSW Police spokesman denied claims of inadequate support for staff suffering mental illness, pointing to a number of programs within the organisation designed to do exactly that.



Death in the line of duty

Sunday 2 March 2014 8:05AM
Funeral for Detective Inspector Bryce Anderson
Image: Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson is the most recent police officer to be killed in the line of duty in NSW. Since his death in December 2012 there have been at least five police suicides in NSW. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
Too often, traumatised police officers are shunned, isolated and put under surveillance. They lose their careers, friendships and often their homes, marriages and children, and a growing number are taking their own lives. William Verity investigates the silence around police, post traumatic stress and suicide. (Warning: some listeners and readers may find the content of this report disturbing).

For decades, silence has surrounded the issue of traumatised police officers taking their own lives.

Police forces and unions have viewed public discussion as taboo, arguing that raising the issue will only encourage more suicides.

But the final words of a suicidal former NSW detective sergeant look set to change that.

The minute you put up your hand and say, listen I am just not coping, I am ill and I can’t sleep and I’m crying uncontrollably in the corner of the office, and you can’t type because your fingers won’t send the message from your brain … that’s career suicide.

Karol Blackley, former police officer

Ashley Bryant left behind a wife and three young children when he killed himself at a waterfall near Bryon Bay in NSW on 16 December 2013.

Before he died, he called 000.

‘I suffer post traumatic stress disorder,’ he said.

‘I can no longer live with the trauma of it and I want this to go to the coroner.’

‘There needs to be more things put in place for what happens. For partners of those that suffer, because I suffer and so do the partners.’

‘And there has to be more done for them. Alright, I have no more to say.’

His widow, Deborah Bryant, is taking up the campaign and has launched a scathing attack on the lack of support provided by the NSW Police Force.

‘I don’t think we were even a glitch on their radar,’ she told Background Briefing.

As a first step, she is calling for police who commit suicide with post traumatic stress to be included at remembrance days and included on the honour board. Suicides are specifically excluded from the National Police Memorial in Canberra.

She believes that nothing short of a change of culture is necessary to prevent further deaths.

‘These people have given their life for their career, and they have gotten to the point where they are broken and they should be recognised for that,’ she said.

‘As far as I am concerned, that’s death in the line of duty.’

This article represents part of a larger Background Briefing investigation. Listen to William Verity’s full report on Sunday at 8.05 am or use the podcast links above after broadcast.

The lack of recognition hit home last year for another widow, Kimberley Galvin, whose husband, Tom Galvin, killed himself after living with chronic post traumatic stress for six years.

She said Police Remembrance Day was one of the hardest times of her life.

‘It came in the same year as an officer killed on duty,’ she said.


‘With all due respect, it was like no-one else had died that year.’

‘It was very difficult for me to comes to terms with … your husband goes to work and he doesn’t come back, as opposed to your husband suffering and suffering and suffering and ends his life.’

‘That those two things are acknowledged in such different ways. Or one is acknowledged extensively and one is not acknowledged at all.’

Although the order of service listed many police who had died from a variety of causes—including old age and ill health—Tom Galvin’s name was conspicuous by its absence.

The story of isolation is repeated by thousands of police officers across Australia who become too sick to work.

Karol Blackley was dux of her class when she graduated and enjoyed a distinguished 22-year career in the NSW Police Force before—in police jargon—’falling off the perch’.

‘They didn’t care about me at all, not one iota,’ she said.

‘It was astounding, disappointing, hurtful, gut-wrenching. Here I am, with what could be a permanent psychological debilitation and they couldn’t give two hoots.’

At her lowest point, Blackley tried to hang herself and then drove to a local hotel, drank as much as she could stomach, and then drove her car in the hope that she would crash and die.

‘The minute you put up your hand and say, listen I am just not coping, I am ill and I can’t sleep and I’m crying uncontrollably in the corner of the office, and you can’t type because your fingers won’t send the message from your brain … that’s career suicide,’ she said.

‘So people hang on and they hang on until they commit actual suicide.’

Blackley runs one of several Facebook support sites set up by former officers—there is no site run by NSW Police—and says isolation can be one of the most damaging effects of post traumatic stress disorder.

‘No-one from the police department contacts you when you are off sick,’ she said.

‘No-one contacts you when you are medically discharged and certainly no-one contacts you when you are not in the police [force] anymore.’

The experience of these officers is in stark contrast to the message from Assistant Commissioner Carlene York, head of human resources at the NSW Police Force.

‘Whilst they are with us we have many intervention programs that we will go through with the officers to make sure those services are given to them urgently and immediately,’ York said.

‘They are very much supported in the workplace by their commanders and fellow officers.’

Although she declined to reveal suicide statistics, York maintained that indicators such as the number of officers leaving the force due to mental stress had improved dramatically in recent years.

‘We put a lot of services in place and we very much rally around the family in the regretful circumstance where there is a suicide,’ she said.

‘We make sure we can help them through those difficult times.’

One aspect of the treatment received by traumatised officers may soon face scrutiny thanks to NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge.

Next week, he will call for an inquiry into the treatment of sick officers seeking compensation from their insurance companies.

Shoebridge became aware of the issue when he represented injured police as a barrister, before entering parliament.

‘We need to ensure that those claims are handled promptly, fairly and independently,’ he said.

‘At the moment, there are many outstanding psychological injury claims that have been running for years. That aggravates the injury.’

The inquiry will look into the treatment of officers such as Andy Peverill, who has been fighting for compensation for three years with no end in sight.

The former constable sits in his farm outside Parkes, in western NSW, with the blinds drawn for fear of surveillance by his insurance company, MetLife.

The company has already made him see 10 psychologists—they all confirm that he has post traumatic stress disorder—but no decision is on the horizon.

Peverill’s wife, Michele, believes it is a tactic to grind them down and told Background Briefing that more than half of the officers who put in a claim end up giving up.

Like other officers, they say they have received no support from NSW Police or from former colleagues.

‘When I ask Andy he says he thinks they are frightened of catching it,’ Michele Peverill said.

‘Almost like it is contagious. I don’t know if there are any undermining things where senior officers say you mustn’t have a bar of him, I don’t know.’

‘They won’t even reply to my texts if I text them, so I don’t know.’

If you need help, or know someone who does, then contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

You will also find useful resources at



Further Information

The incidence of accepted workers compensation claims for mental stress
Safe Work Australia
Questions from David Shoebridge MLC to the NSW Minister for Finance and Services
Questions in relation to police compensation claims
Questions from David Shoebridge MLC to the NSW Police Minister
Questions in relation to the Police Death and Disability Scheme.


William Verity
Anna Whitfeld
Supervising Producer
Linda McGinness
Sound Engineer
Mark Don
Executive Producer
Chris Bullock


Comments (70)

Add your comment

  • Rod :

    28 Feb 2014 12:06:56pm

    This issue is not isolated to NSW Police. I am currently in similar circumstances as a member of the AFP. The lack of contact and support from both the AFP and the Police Association are truly saddening.

  • Dan :

    28 Feb 2014 12:16:28pm

    It seems the only concern they have is in covering the force’s backside. I left on an ‘assisted exit’ but was told you either come back full time, resign or we will sack you. When a debrief after a critical incident is the whole team in a room with the duty officer asking, “are we all okay?”. Who wants to be the one raising their hand?

      • Glen :

        28 Feb 2014 2:04:35pm

        I have attended a number of ‘ugly’ jobs in the past. The only

        Comment ever made to me was in the week following where

        I was told, “here’s the number for EAP”…

        I find comfort in the good mates I’ve made in the job. I’ve been asked by more junior staff ‘Are you ok’? It has never been asked by a senior officer. Now I’m that person who will always pull aside individually each officer & ask them are they coping? Do they need anything?

        We all have a duty of care for our fellow officers. Our mates. Whilst I agree management Should be doing more you might find that by asking your mate how are you coping may be the best thing to ask. We need to be there for each other. At the end of it all, we are the ones who look out for and after the community. Who’s going to look out for and after us? Simple answer, we are! We look out for and after ourselves.

        To any and all who have, are currently or know someone who is suffering and not coping. Please don’t ever be ashamed at putting your hand up. I know I’ve met some damn good mates in this place and I’m sure everyone else has too. Talk with them. Ask how’s things going? Keep an eye on them and most of all, be a mate to them and make sure they are looked after.

  • Brett :

    28 Feb 2014 1:57:53pm

    It makes me angry when I read responses like A/Com York…” The number of police leaving in recent years has decreased due to interventions in the work place” (paraphrased). They aren’t leaving because they can’t afford it! The death and disability scheme was altered to provide a lesser and negligible payout figure for mental health issues caused by policing. Instead I foresee a future of mentally injured police remaining in the Force because of no other option. Shame Barry Shame.

      • Mystical ballistical :

        02 Mar 2014 9:49:12am

        It is a feature of Rightwing neo-liberal regimes, particularly in the Anglosphere, that pay and conditions, pension entitlements, healthcare etc, are all being eviscerated as ‘savings’ are sought, to be transferred to the rich rulers. When this process is even affecting the forces of ‘Law and Order’, then you know that the proverbial is about to hit the fan. I suspect that the wealthy owners of society put more faith in the burgeoning private security industry.

  • Anon :

    28 Feb 2014 2:11:55pm

    My husband died by suicide after having exited the police service with PTSD. No-one from NSW Police has ever contacted me, no-one from the Police seemed to acknowledge what happened. We have small children. I thought we were alone in this, it’s very sad this has happened to others too.

      • Joey :

        02 Mar 2014 9:58:40am

        You are not alone ooxoxo RIP to your partner. If you are on facebook join the Forgotten 300 you will find alot of support there… i am sorry for your loss .

      • Belinda :

        02 Mar 2014 4:25:43pm

        My heart goes out to you Anon. I acknowledge the struggle for your husband but I equally acknowledge the struggle you have and are enduring. This is an aweful situation which none of us would ever have predicted when applying for the job. It has turned your life upside down through no fault of yours or your husbands. I cry when I stop to think about everything my partner has done to support me over the past 3 years of hell. The partners are the forgotten ones. You are the passenger in an out of control vehicle. You couldn’t reach the brake or control the steering wheel. You just had to watch and plead with the driver to calm down. I wish you every ounce of happiness you can find in the rest of your years as he rest in peace.

      • Md :

        02 Mar 2014 7:56:19pm

        Sorry for your loss, as someone on the job17+ years I understand your anger. I’m sorry for your children. Unfortunately the one things that bonds us in the job is the uniform, there is an alleged brotherhood, basically if you don’t play police footy, drink or womainse, you are on the outer. You are probably better off without them . My respect to u ma’am

  • ANON :

    28 Feb 2014 2:41:43pm

    Where is the NSW Police Association in all of this……. SHAME

      • Daniel :

        01 Mar 2014 8:39:26pm

        What do you want them to so exactly?

      • Mystical ballistical :

        02 Mar 2014 9:50:13am

        Daniel, go on strike, make a fuss-for starters. It might get the morons’ attention.

  • Mark Newton :

    28 Feb 2014 2:45:20pm

    Yes, the force rallied around Ashley’s family immediately after he committed suicide. A dignified guard of honor was formed by uniformed officers; a police chaplain respectfully led the service at the cemetery; and a deputy commissioner formally presented Ashley a police hat, flag, and a posthumous award.

    There were around 100 officers at the funeral and wake, most of whom Ashley knew well and had worked with him over many years. They were all visibly moved by his passing. However, in my conversations with these brave men and women, it was clear that none of them knew Ashley was depressed and suicidal. Not one.

    Police men and women must be allowed to support one-another. In order to do so, they need to know when one of their own is struggling. For 100 police from all over the state to turn up to a funeral in Port Macquarie at short notice, it is clear that someone at the force knew who Ashley’s friends and supporters were. Sadly, calling them together for a funeral is too little, too late.

  • Daniel :

    28 Feb 2014 4:32:55pm

    There is no honor in suicide it is an insult to those who put down their lives in the service to our community to be held in the same regard as those who took the easy way out

      • Mark Newton :

        28 Feb 2014 6:57:53pm

        More often than not, people who take their own life have struggled against that option for many years. Far from being the easy way out – to them suicide seems to be the only way out.

        In some ways it is an incredibly brave action. The complexities of suicide are easy to dismiss until you are unfortunate enough to have someone you know go through it.

      • Daniel :

        01 Mar 2014 8:44:42pm

        It is brave to leave your kids with the grief for the rest of their lives?. I agree it is a terrible situation and something I pray I never face however how can you call it brave or honourable to leave someone else to clean up the mess and somehow fill the hole you left?

      • Joey :

        02 Mar 2014 9:38:34am

        What is easy about suicide???? and how dare you . Shame on you sir for even commenting that when a grieving widow is reading these posts. I couldn’t imagine being at the point where i felt that was my only option the mental torment alone before the act is committed is horrific. How dare you say its the EASY WAY OUT. Its your lack of sensitivity and empathy in regard for human life that GREATLY concerns me. There is nothing EASY about suicide. These men and woman are worthy of the same respect and HONOR as any serving or past serving officer. Your mentally for this day and age is disgusting. And i truly pray you never find yourself in the same position as these men and woman before you who have ended their lives…. SHAME ON YOU !

      • Joey :

        02 Mar 2014 9:52:12am

        Do you honestly think for ten seconds they believe they are leaving their loved ones in a worse place ??? They arent Sardistic ? They are mental health …. What you believe and what they believe they have done are completely different things…. Do you think its easy for the families of those who suffer from PTSD to watch their loved ones walking about muddled,confused often drinking to numb to the pain…. The Anger that can be built up can lead to horrific changes in the persons mentality and often children are left scared and cowering in the corner from a man or woman they love and normally isnt aggressive at all.The guilt of the changes that PTSD brings often makes the sufferer feel their families and loved ones are better off without them cause they are walking every step with them.Once a VERY PROUD parent and now can no longer provide emotionally mentally or physically for their families having to go to salvation army for food ? or Housing commission and ending up in the same lines at centrelink or Gov assistance places with the crooks they had arrested just months earlier. Being shunned by your work colleagues completely. Yes at the funeral of ASH you all did the Guard of honor cried your tears and WALKED AWAY ….. Who has been to deb recently ? to check her and the kids are ok ? who has even made a phone call to ensure she is coping ? everyone walked away….. there is NO HONOR IN PTSD!!! and not because of the disease but because of the LACK OF SUPPORT FROM THOSE THAT ARE MEANT TO SUPPORT THE PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT THE PUBLIC!

        Suicide is a very honorable dealth especially for these fine men and woman. They gave their lives for this job and it gladly took every last piece of mental health it could and then threw them away. RIP ASH

      • Mystical ballistical :

        02 Mar 2014 9:53:06am

        Now, Daniel, a little compassion and empathy might be in order. Perhaps at least stop a while before you post, and put yourself in the victim’s situation, or realise that you, luckily, can not.

      • Jen :

        02 Mar 2014 10:04:39am

        Daniel,you obviously have never been brought to the end of your tether. People who ACTUALLY follow through with the ACT of SUICIDE reach a point of feeling OUT OF CONTROL of ANYTHING, their pain, humiliation and disgrace is BEYOND anything that you could imagine.B4 U make illinformed & uneducated heartless comments,perhaps U should know a bit more about the content of your remarks.

      • whatireckonis :

        02 Mar 2014 11:20:39am

        All replying to ‘Daniel’

        Don’t go too for off the rocker to him – why is he so passionate in his reply and hatred of suicide? (maybe apart from seeing and dealing with it’s immediate effects)

        Maybe he’s intimidated by it’s possibility in his own demise.

        (But he can’t tell his boss, or he’ll be sacked and then be unemployable) (and he won’t get any workers comp or rehab…)

      • Belinda :

        02 Mar 2014 3:55:34pm

        When years of mental health options have been tried over and over and your partner continues to cry and lash out from the pain you continue to cause to them and the children and you cannot afford or have the energy to forge a life on your own, Suicide becomes the hard option to ease the pain of those around you. I hope you never have to learn this first hand.

      • Mary Faulkner :

        03 Mar 2014 9:27:37am

        How dare you. Suicide is not an easy way out. People are dying on the inside, struggling, desperate for help, maybe even ashamed for feeling like this. Police and other essential services need help and the government, unions and associations must realise and provide support, both financially and medically.

      • lost :

        04 Mar 2014 12:02:46pm


        Your comment is offensive to a grieving widow.You acknowledge you have no experience in this type of loss…Therefore your ignorance is profound…Let us not forget these officers suffered AND STILL put their own lives at risk often for many years before they took their own.My husband included.

        Sometimes when you speak from a place of no experience and no knowledge,silence is an option.In my opinion those who suffer from a lack of compassion and ignorance lack honor, integrity and an array of other horrible afflictions

      • switzerland :

        04 Mar 2014 2:09:26pm

        Daniel….Disgraceful comments

      • Peter Flannery :

        04 Mar 2014 11:03:34pm


        Listen to the views and emotions expressed by others to get a different perspective on the tragedy, and the notion of courage and honour.

        Ashley was an honourable and courageous man. I knew his courage in the line of service. He was a man you would be thankful to have on your side. He didn’t puff and beat his chest – but you could be certain he would be there when others may not. He had bucket loads of courage. He could just as easily have been amongst those other fallen officers – he was no less selfless in his exposure to personal risk to serve community…and did so for a greater time than most.

        Even more special – he was a genuine gentleman – courteous and respectful. He was humble – a genuine quiet achiever. I’ve never heard a bad word spoken against him – not even a syllable….no easy reputation amongst a tough, strong minded culture.

        His pride as a person who embodied such admirable character – a man who others could depend on, could trust, who seemed to want to do right and good by others could well have been as much a curse – motivating him to conceal his suffering – not to “bother” or “complain” to others and to manage the “stigma” of an illness. It’s so saddening to find that such a wonderful person found himself so consumed.

        So please don’t judge him or others who seem trapped in a lonely place where the hard decision to end their life seems their only choice.

  • No Surprises Here :

    28 Feb 2014 4:34:54pm

    The cops beat the shit out of protestors who have serious problems with so-called democracy, then they lie through their teeth in court about why they did what they did. To anyone who has been almost killed by a cop, or just ridiculously manhandled and even spat upon by a cop, it comes as sweet music to find that they also treat each other like shit.

      • … :

        28 Feb 2014 6:18:17pm

        This is not the type of forum to bad mouth the police. It a horrible topic that is not wished upon anyone. How dare you say things like that, it reads to me that you could not care less that they commit suicide and that you are glad this occurs. It is a tragedy that should not occur as a result of being in a job that helps people. I can guarantee you are one of those people that calls us constantly if you have an issue that is of minuscule proportions but expect police to assist. I bet you also have been charged by police and have resisted arrest and assaulted police and they have had to react but as usual you say police lie and ‘manhandle’ you. The amount of times police get spat on by criminals, I don’t believe you got spat on by an officer.

        I don’t believe this and know if this did happen to you it was by one of a very few minority in the police in Australia.

        You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Catherine :

        28 Feb 2014 6:28:18pm

        Dear No Surprises Here and Daniel,

        I am appalled that you would use this forum as a topic for your own self interest when clearly the people who have voiced their grief by getting on air and writing in are using it to better educate people about post traumatic stress disorder.

        No Surprises Here,

        Many of the PEOPLE working in our Police Force have had to deal with extremely rude, aggressive, violent and/ or disrespectful filth such as yourself. They are human. You are speaking of a very few number who have taken power into their hands as is the case in all courses/ professions and walks of life. Bare your grudge but do not applaud others for their mistreatment of any worker/ policeman or policewoman. What they have to deal with on a day to day basis is just horrific and soul destroying. I could not do their job and you obviously wouldn’t either.


        I have no words to describe the sorrow I feel for you right now. You must be such a warm, caring and sympathetic fellow. You show a lack of intelligence and understanding. SHAME on you.

      • Anon :

        28 Feb 2014 10:13:14pm

        This is not the time nor the place for your political agenda or nonsense stories champ.

        I’m disgusted not only by your opinion but that you would actually put thought to text and post it here.

      • Brent :

        28 Feb 2014 10:33:55pm

        You don’t even have the balls to identify yourself. You are a gutless coward who hides behind anonymity. Go on another more appropriate forum and have your whinge. Idiot

      • Rod :

        28 Feb 2014 11:03:19pm

        I know not of the circumstances your engagement with Police members has been, but I am guessing that you really have idea what Police members can and do encounter. Are we all perfect? No, but the overwhelming majority I have worked alongside with have been decent people.

        Does it take a toll? Hell yes. For me-

        Assaulted on duty? Yep.

        Cut bodies from vehicles? Yep.

        Cut living people from vehicles? Yep (even worse- the dead don’t scream)

        Recover body parts from a plane crash? Yep…took 2 days to do.

        Investigate SIDS deaths? Yep…multiple.

        Done body recoveries at Police suicides. Sadly yes more than once.

        I could go on as with 26 years plus, and a fair chunk of that in the Rescue role plus overseas deployments, I have seen and done a lot that was not pretty but I hope you get my point.

        And the toll? PTSD….Who would have thought?

        While you may or may not have a grievance with Police members now or in the past, this is certainly not the place to vent your angst.

        And finally, do Police Agencies deal with PTSD well? In my experience, no. Three operations since (1 at least pending) back me on this when I was later deployed to duties that I clearly unsuitable for.

      • me again :

        01 Mar 2014 8:28:19am

        No surprises here, are you for real? When was the last time you had to zip up a body bag containing a three year old child, pulled your firearm on a person wielding an axe walking towards other people or got spat in the face by someone with hep C? Get over yourself!

      • Joey :

        02 Mar 2014 9:56:14am

        Moderator: Joey, abusive posts will be deleted

      • maccaibre :

        02 Mar 2014 10:47:21am

        While I too found a lot of the comments on here insensitive, responding to someone making allegations about violent behaviour with “i am not a cop but my goodness i would love to watch you tasered” is stupid and I hope you can see why.

  • Louise :

    28 Feb 2014 9:10:14pm

    I am not at all surprised to hear that the police have no understanding of the dangers of PTSD for their colleagues. I have PTSD and have been repeatedly harassed by my local police now for over 12 months. When I lodge formal complaints with them it is abundantly clear they have zero understanding and empathy of people who have PTSD.

    Having read this article I can now understand why I have experienced the attitudes I have from as high as the divisional inspector on the mid North Coast.

    if I am pushed to suicide by their actions I will certainly be leaving a very detailed letter for the coroner. I pity those officer who have to work in such a culture. It is inhumane in this day and age.

      • Belinda :

        02 Mar 2014 4:11:26pm

        Hang in there Louise.

        1. I hope you have found yourself some good quality mental health experts to keep you going. Currumbin Clinic on the Gold Coast is a great option if you find yourself at breaking point. I dial their number before I reach for the noose and three weeks later I feel much better. If you have private health insurance, put there number in your phone!

        2. Rest rest and then rest. No just physically. Take a rest from bashing yourself up mentally. You are ill and you need to be gentle on yourself. Let 10% of you fight off the insurance companies and police paper pushers and play body guard to the other 90% of you which is recovering from a chronic illness that very few understand.

        3. You are not alone. I feel for you and wish you so very well in your ongoing battle. Its a long battle (3 years for me) but it gets easier in time as you learn to adapt and live with it. BIG HUG

  • Marcel van Grinsven :

    28 Feb 2014 9:13:01pm

    After nearly 25 years on the road and a lot of that in Prime Real Estate of domestic welfare and substance abuse, it only took a few seconds whilst prepping the trigger of my Glock to terminate my career. This was followed by the quickest movements I have ever seen within the QPS to get rid of me. Whilst our Commissioner dwelt over 4 years whether we should be wearing a tie whilst in operational duties. It only took them 12 months and a number of quick succession psyc visits to terminate my employment whilst directing HSO staff not to visit as I was a danger to them. Its was only due to the strength of my wife, family and close friends that I am still here to tell the story. Senior management brag as to how they look after their staff but the reality is most are only interested in their pay and bonuses for staying within their budgets and wont spend money on assisting staff getting help even when it is so obvious to everyone that they are suffering. Funnily enough a lot of these managers rose through the ranks in protected positions where they rarely if ever had to deal with an angry or drug f*&ked client, and the closest thing to dealing with a suicide or accidental death is reading the crime report. 4 years on and am still trying to get some employment and here I thought someone would like to employ an ex copper but the wording “medically retired” appear to have a stigma attached to it. I see some of the new staff coming through with the enthusiasm and wonder how many will last and for how long. For those still “in the JOB” take care and look after yourself and don’t let it get to you before it is too late..

      • Belinda :

        02 Mar 2014 4:15:08pm

        I’m hearing you Marcel. Look after yourself.

      • Jessie :

        02 Mar 2014 11:25:22pm

        Totally understand where you are coming from Marcel.

  • whatirekonis :

    28 Feb 2014 9:16:02pm

    There’s no ‘support’ If you speak to the more common self serving supervisor, rather than the rarer sergeant with real ‘on the truck’ time – the former will red flag you as a problem, put you on restricted duty and double padlock your gun.

    That gives them more management arrows to their quiver and can help with a promotion. Career advancement is the primary consideration for a large percentage of career cops. They don’t care about you or your career, just don’t be a problem and carry on.

    “I see dead people” – well yes, often. Vehicle collisions, train incidents, suicides, deceased people in their homes (in varying stages of decomposition) Do the job, deal with it, get the paperwork done, next job.

    With car crashes I have always found it easier if the persons involved were already dead, it’s pretty awful to see people suffer so badly as they die in front of you or they get carted off by ambo’s and you generally don’t find out how they went.

    No wonder they amount of cops going out on workers comp has gone down, the Japanese company that now owns the scheme doesn’t fund the ‘mortgage busters’ that a certain % of cops ran away with and destroyed the scheme. Most of the previous people off on the scheme were genuine don’t get me wrong, but a small group ruined it. Now, if you have dramas – good luck sunshine.

    There should be some form of rememberance for police suicides – but It’s a form of immortality to be etched onto a wall forever. Unfortunately suicide is seen as the ultimate weakness – and they became a cop killer. It’s not nice, they spread their hurt and damage to their workmates who witness and deal with what they have done. And all the associated families.

    PTSD needs to be addressed, the ordinary people that put their hand up to maintain law and order need to be looked out for properly.

    Where’s the police association? Ha, probably off at some police funded drinking junket. They showed their true worth when they surrendered to the new D&D scheme. We all got ‘schemed’ there.

  • Anon :

    28 Feb 2014 10:26:57pm

    This type of denial by Gov departments must be universal.

    I am a Worksafe Inspector who has seen his fair share of incidents and in particular a fatal “workplace incident’ that was the trigger for a downward spiral.

    No support no acknowledgement only advise was to contact eap to “tick that box”

    I wish I was like some of my collegues who have no regards for human life, unfortunatly I am not like that and I am the one made to suffer.

    Goes on everywhere

  • Anon :

    28 Feb 2014 10:27:10pm

    It is so sad that nothing has changed. My husband went out with PTSD about 7 years ago with 23 years service and has never fully recovered. I am unsworn (still – 28 years service) and have given up waiting for someone to ask if we are ok. The damage this illness caused to our marriage, our children’s lives and my faith in the ‘Police Family’ was and is collateral .

    That it still happens and very few care is heartbreaking. Why do police consider PTSD a weakness rather than an illness?

      • Rod :

        28 Feb 2014 11:15:45pm

        From my own experience-

        1) Once the “do you have access to a firearm” question has been asked and answered, the level of management interest dwindles.

        2) When a uniformed welfare officer in his initial visit describes part of his role as dealing with the “broken biscuits” you gain a sense your worth to the job.

  • Chuck :

    28 Feb 2014 11:51:01pm

    After enduring severe PTSD as a result of experiencing pretty much every bad job imaginable in the NSW Police and also losing a best mate and former Police Officer to suicide, I concur that there is nothing more Ex than an Ex Cop. It is a hidden problem that nobody wishes to acknowledge. There are current Police who think its funny to target Ex Police. Some of us didn’t get “mortgage busting payouts” We are the ones they know about, but don’t want to know us. Thanks only to a Forensic Psychiatrist who continues to help me (as I continue to see him), nobody else comes near. Perhaps they think its contagious…..

  • Medic1 :

    01 Mar 2014 12:28:42am

    This problem is just as prevalent in the Ambulance Service of NSW.

    They forget about you, brush it under the rug or ignore the warning signs. Trent Speering was a perfect example of this. Any Ambulance official that says it has improved is lying.

    As if dealing with constant trauma everyday is not bad enough, the bullying that is rampant pushes you even further!

    If you push back or say you need a break then they make you feel weak and push you out. And don’t get me started on what happens when you fight back…lets just say they will ignore every fact just to make you look bad!

  • Anon :

    01 Mar 2014 8:01:56am

    Where has this YORK character been.. under a rock.. Do you really know that Commands support officers they go out on stress.. REALLY???? From the day I put in a complaint about begin spat at… YES spat at and verbal abused and held in a room by no other then my A/Sgt I was harrased, belittled, swapped teams to isolate me from fellow officers who I had a good relationship with and who would have been able to support me in this difficult stage I was being subject too. Officers were told by senior staff “she won’t get away with this complaint we will make her life hell till she quits” and “if you don’t want a bad name now too Id stay away from her”.. This went on for 7 months before I went off on stress.. Only to receive harassing phone calls saying if I didn’t return to work immediately I would be placed in an inner city station (over 2 hours from home) rather then asking if I was Ok.. ANYTHING to tick those little boxes they have in order to look like they care…and cover their butts.. As several other senior management began the harassment too.. On 3 occasions after contacting Professional Standards begging for help the complaint was sent back to my command ( as they felt it was important enough for them to complete the investigation ) and those who were harassing me helped complete it and/or their close work colleagues.. It was a joke plenty of witnesses that observed my harassment were never spoken too.. I went from an officer receiving 3 awards within 14 months prior to the first initial incident to an officer being labelled now since putting in my harassment complaints as now “a poor worker”.. REALLY !!! Anything to protect their butts.. Yet the Act/sgt (the spitter) won a Promotion that they assist him to achieve.. It was mind-blowing for myself and other staff to witness it all happening…I would have to say the harassment I endured from the command management including Duty Officers and Professional Standards following my initial complaint was more horrific then that of being spat on.. Unfortunately your then slowly forgotten about by even the colleagues that you did have a good working relationship with as they are conscience of not looking like they are going against the management they have to work with on a daily basis.. My HOD took 3 years through insurance to prove.. 7 independent psychologists to try and discredit me, which they all supported me apart from one..He informed me he red all the statements from my harasses (including Sgts, duty officers.. wow even the uniform lady provided a statement yet I had never met her and was a statement of all hearsay information.. They I was given 15 minutes to tell my side of the story…. what a joke… in the end and now I am left with a very poor taste about the New South Wales Police one which I dreamt of joining for so many years, was good at and thought it would be a lifelong career till I went against them and tried to prove officers should not be subject t

      • whatireckonis :

        02 Mar 2014 7:45:53am

        Yes, that is the way it works.

        Close ranks, circle the wagons.

        ‘Witnesses’ who may not be favourable to the investigating officers questions are either excluded or asked questions in a certain way that makes it impossible to support your accusation.

        “Did you see officer X ever not do what is alleged?”

        Well, yes, they were seen not doing that thing a lot.

        They operate on the CARE principle – Cover Arse Retain Employment. They cover each others arses very well.

        Dishonesty, small scale corruption (yes, corruption is corruption) dangerous driving, workplace bullying – oh yes, investigated but recorded as ‘a lapse of judgement’ and the bullying as ‘sour grapes’ Funny that, sour grapes were quite common in that particular office.

        The majority of cops are good, honest, hard working people that do a tough job well. There are some genuine pigs amongst them. And they herd.

      • Mkh :

        02 Mar 2014 11:31:45am

        Your story sounds exactly like mine, Albeit I wasn’t spat on, instead in statements the police said I was a slovenly, drug affected domestic violence victim who had been put in hospital due. to domestic violence. ( none of which was true), at the time they were investigating the actions of bullying and harrassment, they gave me shit jobs, sticking stickers on envelopes for months, they being NSWPF done everything in their power to try and make me quit. My psychological mental breakdown was declined by EML as they claimed I had sustained a psychological injury due to my physical injury, rather than from being harassed. They claim I had a bad attitude as I didn’t want to work with my employer and try to get back to full duties, even though the NSWPF were told by six specialist that it will never happen, as I had a fusion in my neck in 2010, to wit I was made PRD. They unfairly dismissed me from my PRD position, with the only excuse given, I want a sergeant in this role. My case is before the ombudsmen at present, and the ombudsmen believe I have a case for the NSWPF to answer, I think it is a disgrace the way injured police are treated, their is no care factor, because they would rather cut their losses and hire another graduate from the college of knowledge. Due to their being no partial disability anymore we are thrown on a garbage heap, with everything thrown at us to make our lives miserable in the workplace, including writing to the RTA in an attempt to cancel our licence, writing to the insurance company and lying about things we did on holiday, when questioned about who their informant is the cover ups occurr. I hope their is an inquiry, it is well over due. Having gone through depression, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I am now working at a different LAC where my Sgt is supportive and understanding, this helped a lot in my recovery. I can look back now and think WTF, when reading their statements, as it is quite obvious they had an agenda to make me quit, but I have come full circle and know now their is more to life than the NSWPF, to which I gave so much.

      • whatireckonis :

        02 Mar 2014 12:32:08pm

        What makes it worth it?

        Well, to help people –

        No.1. To really help people, that’s what it’s all about. Bad things happen and we are there to deal with it and help people deal with it. Thats why ‘we’ are police. Not the bullies and the jerks who get paid by the police to wear a uniform.

        That stuff hurts people and we are there to help you with it.

        Stuff is all sorts of ‘stuff’ You name it.

        It hurts you a lot, and it hurts us too. Sometimes because you are physically hurt – maybe you are burnt in a house fire and we have taken you out – yeah, you may die, but you are in my hands (like really, you are holding my hands) and you are still #$%@& smoking and you are trying to talk to me. Maybe you died, I don’t know. I tried mate. I could smell you on my jacket for weeks. How many years later, it’s like that job was last week.

        The deceased people. We are there to give you respect and help your family begin to grieve. I climb in through your back window and tap you on the shoulder – oh your died X weeks ago. We pity you that no-one found you earlier. I won’t say how long earlier.

        The motor vehicle accidents. Yes, I see what has happened, it wasn’t your fault but you are about to die and you are looking at me to save you. I can’t. But…

        Another accident – oh you are already dead – I search your pockets and get a car crew to your home while I continue.

        Oh, was that upsetting? Never mind that – why are your person search/move along stats down for this month? You aren’t being pro-active enough. What? You are being lazy and not suited to being a cop.

      • David R Allen :

        03 Mar 2014 5:30:27pm

        Ditto the AFP.

  • rossmount :

    01 Mar 2014 10:41:32pm

    wow, so glad that I have stumbled across this. Here I was thinking it only happens in the QPS.

    Could not agree more, when you go on sick leave you are the ‘he who should not be named’. They don’t give a damn about you. My husband has recently gone on sick leave and its like he never existed. Prior to this there was a long list of harassing management action that drove him out. Just what the bosses want hey. They would rather have a junior officer who dares not ask questions then an experienced officer of over 20 years.

    The worst thing is that I am also in the job and now its started on me. Bullying by ignoring me, under valuing my skills and isolation. Boy its hard to go to work.

    Its nice to hear about life on the other side of policing, because that’s what the QPS never want you to hear about in case you dare to leave.

    When you joined this job you hated grubs then over time you hate management because they are just looking out for themselves, have to cling to this job because they have no other options. They are the ones who make the job hard, zero support.

  • Steve :

    02 Mar 2014 8:17:10am

    Police are the only organisation who torture their wounded. I am a former member of the NSW Police Force with 20 years service. I was “discharged, medically unfit, hurt on duty for physical and psychological injuries received in a major incident in 1988, leading to my discharge in 1993.

    I was one of the first members to be assessed with PTSD which, at the time, had no guidelines for treatment or convalescence. Some 25 years after the event I still suffer from the incident and as I approach middle age, my physical injuries are compounded by the onset of arthritis. During my time in the Police Force and subsequent discharge,

    I have had no contact from the NSW Police Association, which I have been a member for 35 years or the Welfare Section inquiring about my health nor any subsequent followup treatment. There is a saying in the NSW Police – “There is nothing more EX than and EX Copper”, which is a very apt description, a case of out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

    I thank ABC RN for this story, it highlights those of us who have given all but received very little from the Department in return. Maybe something will come of it.

  • Stephanie Bass :

    02 Mar 2014 8:27:59am

    Ambos, Police & Child Protection Workers see what no one should see. “Debriefing” is “at the pub”!

    The images never leave.

    PTSD is not handled well & any sign of weakness is often targeted by Supervisors.

    Thank you for this program.

    More assistance for family members of all these careers

    should be mandatory.

    They are also placed in a vulnerable position.

  • Outofbounds :

    02 Mar 2014 8:32:07am

    When you read the NSWPF values: integrity, honesty, respect… Then reflect on the way members with PTSD are treated by senior management, it is no surprise that these poor souls are committing suicide. I say to members & former members partners, husbands, wives, friends, family – rally around your loved one. Keep a close eye one them, help them get the support & medical treatment that they desperately need to get back to some resemblance of the person they were before they joined the police.

  • Injured police of nsw :

    02 Mar 2014 9:27:02am

    Please click and read the contents of this petition.

    I am appauled at the way injured cops are and have been treated not only by the NSW Police and Government but their poisonous agents undertaking their manipulating “dirty deeds” This is not limited to their contracted insurers, GIO, ALLIANZ, EMPLOYERS MUTUAL.

    What is always not mentioned is the decision makers in executive of the NSW pilice are all on lifetime CPI pensions of over 160k per year.

    The current NSW Police and other front bench Ministers are also on the same, and do not even have to be injurerd. A little hypercritical dont you think?.

    There is no help when you are injured so ms York stop the B/S. You are only helped or forced out the door and thrown on the police scrap heap. Then treated like beggers and or criminals by some insurance clerk when you are Discharged offically by the Commissoner.

    The Statutory bodies of the Government are empowered to stop individuals seeking proper remedy as a result of the appalling corruption and clear bullying within.

    Time for another Royal Commission.

    Bless you all.

    My thoughts are with the Bryant families and others suffering this trauma, including my own loved ones.


    Retired NSW Police officer.

      • Injured Police of NSW :

        02 Mar 2014 9:56:01am

        Quick link to view petition.

        or simply Google, injured NSW police.

  • Mystical ballistical :

    02 Mar 2014 9:42:05am

    When you add the extreme callousness displayed to these fellow officers by the police hierarchy, to the tsunami of hideous abuse, continuing over decades, inflicted on children in ‘care’, to the cruelty and barbarity inflicted on refugees, to the readiness to join in genocidal aggressions like Iraq, the villainous Northern Territory ‘Intervention’, the creation of a New Stolen Generation far greater than that revealed by the ‘Bringing Them Home’ Report, the epidemic of bullying, and myriad other daily nastinesses and displays of contempt by the powerful for the rest, you see a true picture of Australian ‘society’ as it really is, not the pretty, self-deluding image we like to paint in our boundless smug self-satisfaction.

      • adellad :

        02 Mar 2014 10:25:46am

        What a sad world you inhabit; it is not the Australia in which I live. Also, spleen-venting of your egregious sort is especially unpleasant when it’s off-topic.

      • A lost lamb :

        02 Mar 2014 12:48:07pm


        While I do not agree with the aggression expressed in the first comment, I can relate because there is a pandemic in our lives. We all see many of the symptoms and we all know many of the causes. We don’t talk about it, we don’t confront it, instead we defer our focus and delegate our lives to more comfortable dreams. Only briefly do we reflect when we are forced by the empty mark it leaves on us with stories like this. It is not isolated and it is growing.

        Just today I have seen it defended by individuals like Assistant Commissioner Carlene York or William Churchill of Ausveg, instead of the men and women who live and die around us everyday.

        I am invigorated by the splendor of our growing knowledge and technology only to watch it be perverted by those we place our trust in. Our political mechanisms are antiquated, our law dysfunctional, our economics a racket, our environment dying, our education corrupt, our day-to-day passion regulated by hierarchies open for abuse.

        I don’t think his comment is off-topic, I think it is more likely that we don’t want acknowledge that there is truth in it.

        Something is very very wrong…with our culture.

  • Joey :

    02 Mar 2014 10:31:41am

    You are not ALONE


  • Elizabeth :

    02 Mar 2014 3:19:59pm

    An interesting article. Perhaps the police forces should undertake better resilience testing practices. It could lessen the PTSD instances; choosing the right people for the right job may be the answer. Some people may be more prone to suffering and psychological issues arising from exposure to death, violence etc than others. We select and employ people based on traits in other employment fields so why not with policing?

      • Gabrielle :

        02 Mar 2014 9:05:21pm

        After 20+ years ‘in the job’ any level of resilience is well and truly exhausted. Perhaps a 20 year retirement option would be the most compassionate way for these great men and women to end their careers with dignity.

      • Fiona :

        14 Mar 2014 6:32:19am


        How exactly do you ascertain whether a person is going to be resilient to constant exposure to abused children, death and threats to their life. No one is resistant to that level of trauma forever. It is the ‘cost of Policing’. We just need support, recognition, respect, and the means to financially support ourselves and our families after the fall out. I am a very resilient person… but at well over 20 years.. There are cracks. I’m pretty confident at 19 I’d have got through resilience testing.

  • jO :

    02 Mar 2014 7:03:05pm

    My husband is currently at the academy finishing in the next couple of months and to date has had no counselling lectures, grief work or anything that would prepare him for the potential horrors ahead.I find this very concerning ,surely concentration in these areas will minimize this chance of mental burnout and reduce suicide numbers-

      • Jessie :

        02 Mar 2014 11:45:02pm

        Jo, he wont get it either. They paint it as rosy and its anything but. He will appear to cope with attending tragedy on a constant basis but eventually the bucket gets full. You don’t have a great deal of responsibility in the first few years as its all put on the fellow officer he will work with. I am out of the job, medically discharged and am trying just to cope day to day. It ruined my life.

      • The Gov :

        04 Mar 2014 3:04:58pm


        They will not discuss the bad side of policing at the Academy. When he get out he will discover that the bad side is revealed and talked about in the pub. My advice to your husband is to start a journal from his first day and continue to the last. Include in that all the nasty incidents he attends and the support he receives. You will find that there is no support and as soon as he ask for it, his career will be over. They will bully him and harass him until he resigns or goes on long term sick report. Once gone he will be forgotten and all the mates he had in the job will disappear. He will be left alone to deal with his Demons and then he will need your support to get through each and every day and night. I hope for you and your family that he is blessed and gets through because the other is a constant nightmare. Good luck!

  • David R Allen :

    02 Mar 2014 7:05:07pm

    I cried. I was listening Sunday morning and I cried. I haven’t cried over this issue since 2007 when I resigned from the Australian Federal Police, diagnosed with PTSD.

    Briefly. High achiever. Det Sgt. Drugs. Undercover. Terrorists. Financial scams. Same as the rest of these correspondents. Attended a 6 week Sgt’s course. Was bastardized by the lead instructor. Brutally held up to ridicule in front of the class. Two weeks in I’m on top of the college ready to jump and land on the pavement outside her office. That will show her. That will bring her down. I came home. Never the same. Depression and anger.

    Like a bucket of water, slowly accumulating drops of water, it built up. Eventually, one more drop and I fell over. Drugs. Psychiatrists. The AFP went after me like a criminal. From 2IC of a State to working a line at an airport.

    The AFP’s psyche said it was the instructor. My Psyche said it was the instructor. The AFP sent me to a high end forensic psychiatrist for 6 weeks. He said it was the instructor.

    Years of limbo, depression, drugs and anger. I missed out on my family growing up.

    Insurance company refused liability. We started to collect evidence. We found 7 other people similarly attacked by this instructor, willing to go to court. We even told AFP Professional standards and they did nothting.

    She was a serial abuser and workplace bully. The medical people said that if we sue, it will take years and the stats are that I wouldn’t survive. Turn into a vegetable. My choice was drop the action or go mad. I dropped the action. Resigned. Slowly earned some self respect and a sunrise of happiness.

    This program broke the dam. If a serial killer was persisting with this course of conduct, injuring people it would invoke a national taskforce. Because it’s an insurance company, supported by police service that say your weak winging malinger, somehow they can get away with it.

    In the words of Rake. “My old life. I want it back.”

      • A statistic :

        05 Mar 2014 11:49:11am

        I am a statistic now.

        The flashbacks, the dreams,the anxiety, the sweats, the overwhelming sadness, the alcohol, the anger, the noose, the medication, hiding behind the facade, the powerlessness, the guilt, the fights with spouse, the kids, everyone walking on eggshells around you, no motivation, the struggle to get out of bed, even though it’s such a negative place where a lot of the bad thoughts and dreams are, the powerlessness, the anxiety, every time you see a train thinking of suicide, or at any given time having suicidal thoughts, the lack of support, the insurance company, the medication and side effects, the disassociation, not being able to show love to the people you love the most, being unable to show love, feeling unloved, not caring about yourself, not eating for days at a time, the endless cigarettes, the memory loss, the obsessive compulsive times, no compassion but crying at the slightest thing, and so, so much more. I didn’t think it would happen to me. I didn’t choose this. I loved the job. I was good at it. I am seeking and getting help. I have spoken out. I am off the grog. I hope I come through the other side. It’s is going to take a long time and I am hopeful that I will be able to have some semblance of normal in the future. It was 9 years in the making. I wonder how long I will take to fix me, or if I am even fixable.

      • David R Allen :

        05 Mar 2014 12:36:50pm

        The best thing that was said to me very early on, and that saved me a number of times was:-

        “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

        I commend it to the readers. It’s only temporary.

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