Ashley Newton BRYANT

New South Wales Police Force

Regd. # 25603

Rank: Probationary Constable ( # 60233 ) – appointed 22 August 1988

Detective Sergeant – Retired – Hurt on Duty 6 December 2012

StationsManly, TRG North Region, Manly, Moree, Kempsey, Port Macquarie,
The Rocks, Special Crimes, City Central, Unsolved Homicide, Homicide Squad, Bourke, Ballina

ServiceFrom 9 May 1988 to 6 December 2012 = 24+ years Service

In Service Awards:  Detective – 1 March 2000
Bachelor of Policing (Investigations), CSU – 25 October 2002
Detective Sergeant – 9 January 2007
Statement of Attainment in Bachelor of Laws (Posthumous) – 12 April 2014

Awards:  No find on It’s An Honour

Born:  3 June 1969

Died on: 16 December 2013

Cause:  Suicide stemming from PTSD

Age:  44

Funeral date:  Saturday 21 December 2013 @ 11am

Funeral location:  Innes Gardens Memorial Park Crematorium, Phillip Charley Drive, Port Macquarie.

Buried at:  Cremated

* Stemming from the continued work of the wives of four Fallen NSW Police to Suicide – those four names will now be included in the newly refurbished NSW Police Wall of Remembrance, Sydney, as of 2017

Congratulations to those family members who fought the fight to right this wrong.

 

Inquest initially set for 5 days, 18 – 22 May 2015, at Downing Centre Courts, Sydney & being led by the State Coroner, Michael Barnes. 

Now set for 4 days 29 Feb – 3 March 2016 at Glebe Coroner’s Court, Sydney, by State Coroner, Michael Barnes.

Feb – March 2016 vacated at family request. 

Now scheduled for 25 – 29 July 2016

Coroner was unavailable for the scheduled Inquest of 25 – 29 July

New Inquest date is from Wednesday  26 April 2017

at Glebe Coroner’s Court, Sydney, by State Coroner, Michael Barnes.

 

Ashley Newton BRYANT

Ashley Newton BRYANT

 

Ashley Newton BRYANT

Ashley Newton BRYANT

With regret I advise the death of Ashley Newton BRYANT, 44 old, former Regd. No. 25603, a non-member of Port Macquarie.

Ashley passed away on 16/12/2013 and his funeral is proposed to be held at 11am on Saturday 21st Instant at Innes Gardens Memorial Park Crematorium, Phillip Charley Drive, PORT MACQUARIE.

The family requests the company of former colleagues and friends of Ashley to join them following the service at The Westport Club (Upstairs) Address: 25 Buller Street, Port Macquarie.

https://www.australianpolice.com.au/calendar/funeral-ashley-newton-bryant/

Memorial plaque upon the front wall of Bourke Police Station, NSW, remembering Ashley Bryant. Set in place - June 2015

Memorial plaque upon the front wall of Bourke Police Station, NSW, remembering Ashley Bryant.
Set in place – June 2015

Memorial plaque upon the front wall of Bourke Police Station, NSW, remembering Ashley Bryant. Ash's plaque is on the right side of the window ( closest to door ). The plaque on the left of window is the memorial for Jacko.

Memorial plaque upon the front wall of Bourke Police Station, NSW, remembering Ashley Bryant. Ash’s plaque is on the right side of the window ( closest to door ). The plaque on the left of window is the memorial for Jacko. Set in place – June 2015

*

Commissioner Scipione has telephoned each of us today to advise that our loved ones names are being added to the replacement NSW Police Force Wall of Remembrance, to be unveiled in the next few weeks.

We would like to thank everyone who has offered support over a long and difficult journey and truly hope this sets a precedent for all police departments, not only in Australia but the global policing community.

It is so very important to remember that policing can and often does have a detrimental effect on those who serve.

We believe that the inclusion of suicide deaths, stemming from a work related psychological injury, is the most compassionate way of showing that the police hierarchy truly cares.

The following names will be added:

Detective Sergeant Ashley Bryant

Sergeant Tom Galvin

Senior Constable Scott Nicholson

Constable Morgan Hill

#OneWallForAll

 

 

 

Death in the line of duty

Friday 28 February 2014 7:52AM

Like soldiers returning from combat, police officers around Australia are battling the symptoms of post traumatic stress after years of frontline work.

For their troubles, they’re shunned, isolated, and further traumatised by insurance companies when they seek compensation.

In extreme cases they end their suffering by taking their own lives.

But police forces won’t reveal suicide figures and the PTSD epidemic has remained hidden.

Now, the dramatic final words of one police officer, and a push for a Parliamentary inquiry, may end the silence.

Listen to the full report on Background Briefing, Sunday 2nd March at 8am, repeated Tuesday 4th March at 7pm

 

Death in the line of duty

Sunday 2 March 2014 8:05AM

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)

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).

Related Stories

Death in the line of duty by William Verity, RN Breakfast 28.02.2014

Our shameful silence on police suicide by William Verity, The Drum 3.03.2014

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 beyondblue.org.au

 

Transcript

Show

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.

Credits

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

 

Comments (73)

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

        Daniel

        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

        Daniel,
        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.


      • Gimp4930 ®:

        18 Jul 2014 1:58:23pm

        Daniel you obviously have never experienced the traumatising effects PTSD can cause, then there is the treatment from insurance companies and their alleged Doctors. the loneliness ans isolation you feel from everyone except fellow sufferers.
        People say suicide is selfish etc.
        It takes the pain away from the sufferer, the pain they have tried to explain to Doctors yet tried to spare loved ones.
        I will attempt to enlighten you.
        Q, is the glass of water half full or half empty?
        A. who cares the correct questions is this, how long can you carry that glass around with you before it seems like a ton of bricks? a day? 3 days? a week? month?
        Perspective Daniel, look from another perspective before you condemn someone.


  • 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.

        Daniel,
        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.

    http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/premier-barry-o-farrell-injured-or-retired-nsw-police-officers-call-for-an-icac-or-police-integrity-investigation-to-uncover-alleged-and-or-corrupt-conduct-by-the-nsw-police-and-your-contracted-insurers-and-or-agents

    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.
    xxxooo

    Retired NSW Police officer.


      • Injured Police of NSW :

        02 Mar 2014 9:56:01am

        Quick link to view petition.

        http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/premier-barry-o-farrell-injured-or-retired-nsw-police-officers-call-for-an-icac-or-police-integrity-investigation-to-uncover-alleged-and-or-corrupt-conduct-by-the-nsw-police-and-your-contracted-insurers-and-or-agents

        or simply Google, change.org 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

        adellad:

        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

    TRIGGER WARNING


  • 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

        Elizabeth,
        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

        Jo
        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.


  • rtbeckley ®:

    18 Jul 2014 10:28:16am

    This problem within Emergency Service Personnel is getting to crisis point.

    There are so many personnel suffering from the effects of incident stress across Australia BUT the Organisational management are not taking action to help us cope.

    I’ve been a member of the Fire Service Industry for over 20 years and am now paying price for the “Harden Up” culture that we are all expected to abide by.

    I’m the silent victim nobody sees after helping the general public deal with their loss of family members BUT nobody thinks of me or my mates that are affected.

    As Emergency Service Organisations DONT have a proactive approach to incident stress, I have started a program to fill that gap and help others not fall down like I did.

    www.facebook.com/behindtheseenaustralia


  • Gimp4930 ®:

    18 Jul 2014 1:43:39pm

    Police are but a part of this bigger issue effecting all emergency services. Fire Ambulance etc.
    PTSD is the silent killer of emergency service workers.
    As a firefighter of 30 years I can assure you many of my friends are no longer alive. I myself feel like I walk a tightrope.
    To be treated like a pedophile with the clap by insurance companies is dehumanising in itself let alone their so called doctors.
    You have but scraped the tip of the iceberg Sir.

Death in the line of duty: breaking the silence on police psychological injuries

This week’s Background Briefing on ABC Radio National covers the issue of post-traumatic stress and police suicides.My office has heard from many current and former police officers who have been shunned, isolated and left without meaningful assistance after suffering psychological injuries at work.Before I came to Parliament I acted for a number of police in similar situations and saw first-hand how badly they were treated by the force and insurers.Having heard first hand how police and their families are suffering I can’t turn a blind eye on this issue.I would urge you to take the time to listen to the report on ABC and then see if you also think it is time to break the silence.ABC Radio National Background Briefing: Death In The Line Of Duty by David Shoebridge GreensToo 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.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.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.

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.’

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.’

You can view the report in it’s original form on ABC Radio National here.

David introduced a Notice of Motion into the NSW Upper House on Tuesday seeking support for a Parliamentary Inquiry into how the NSW Police Force and insurers deal with serving and former NSW police who have suffered psychological injuries.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh8rC7J7V7o

 http://davidshoebridge.org.au/2014/03/03/death-in-the-line-of-duty-breaking-the-silence-on-police-psychological-injuries/

 

 

Our shameful silence on police suicide

Updated

The suffocating silence around suicide in the police force and the lack of support for officers suffering mental trauma amounts to a national scandal, writes William Verity.

If it takes the death of yet another police officer to wake us up to the scandal occurring all around us, his life may not be entirely wasted.

Ashley Bryant was not the last serving or former officer in NSW to take his own life, despite the fact that he only died just before Christmas.

Another officer killed himself in Sydney in January.

In fact, since the last NSW officer – Inspector Bryson Anderson – was killed in the line of duty in December 2012, at least five officers have taken their own lives.

You won’t have heard their names, you won’t hear them honoured at Police Remembrance Days, and their names are specifically excluded from the National Police Memorial in Canberra.

It’s as if their many years of honourable service leading to the ultimate sacrifice never happened.

Ashley Bryant was 44 years old when the “head noises” (as he called them) of post traumatic stress disorder finally pushed him over the edge.

As his widow, Deborah Bryant, relates, it was an act of mercy. He had become so impossible to be around. His cycling through heavy drinking followed by bouts of manic exercise, his anger, his moods, his nightmares.

He killed himself because he believed it was his compassionate act towards his wife and three young children.

Yet before he died, the former detective sergeant made one last call – to 000 – where he broadcast to the world a desperate plea on behalf of the thousands of police in Australia who suffer mental stress.

“I can no longer live with the trauma of it and I want this to go to the coroner,” he said.

“There needs to be more, more things put in place for what happens. Listen, for partners, of those that suffer, cause I suffer and so do the partners. And there has to be more done for them.

“Alright, I have no more to say.”

We are used to hearing about post traumatic stress in the military, and it was the condition of Vietnam veterans in the 1970s that first formalized the condition in the psychiatric diagnostic manual.

Yet conditions for police can be every bit as traumatic as for soldiers, some would argue worse.

One officer described putting out the washing and seeing a dead body that wasn’t there. Or feeding her cat and when the animal looked up at her, it had the face of a murder victim.

Another officer would bang his headboard as he suffered nightmares and he put a hole in the wall. He would relive crime scenes in his sleep, shouting out orders, so his partner learnt more about his work from his nightmares than his conscious self.

All of them contemplate suicide at some point, many of them attempt either violently or over time, often drinking themselves to an early grave or overdosing on their medication.

If you’ve ever wondered about that semi-comical police jargon used, where a dead man is described as “a deceased male person”, ask yourself, why the special language?

Could it be a defence mechanism, a way of distancing yourself from the daily horror, an imperfect shield against impending head noises?

This need to defend oneself may explain why, almost universally, police who fall sick with mental trauma are shunned by colleagues and isolated from any meaningful help from the police bureaucracy.

As one recent widow put it: “When you can’t do what you’re supposed to do, you’re just out and move up and someone else fills your spot. You’re just out.”

The astonishing fact is that this mental carnage is nothing new. There are many thousands of sick and medically discharged police around Australia, one or more in every suburb. It’s been going on for decades.

So why the silence?

One issue is that police forces and unions will not discuss the issue of suicide, arguing that it will only encourage more. As if police officers, who deal with death on a daily basis and carry a Glock pistol on their belt, could be so easily swayed into taking their own lives.

Another issue may be one of money. Police forces may fear a deluge of claims coming their way if there is any suggestion that they have failed in their duty of care.

A third issue is that in this male culture, post traumatic stress is seen – quite understandably – as a contagious disease. If I lower my defences to become empathetic to my colleagues, I become vulnerable to breakdown myself.

Though blame will not save a single life, there is no doubt that the silence and lack of action by police unions is a national scandal.

Can you imagine the CFMEU staying silent – even having a policy to stay silent – if five of its members had died on building sites in NSW alone in the past 14 months? God knows how many more have died in other states.

Or the journalists’ union? Even the Health Services Union in the hands of Thompson and Williamson would have done a better job.

The systemic problem here, it seems, is that the NSW Police Association is staffed by serving officers, with the same blind spots as other serving officers.

In addition, there appears to be a game played where they can campaign on behalf of their members, but only within certain parameters. Unlike other relationships between employers and unions, the NSW Police Association and the NSW Police Force are so close as to be a single organisation.

There is no room here to describe the shameful treatment – surveillance, delays, harassment – meted out to sick officers seeking the compensation owed to them after years of paying their insurance premiums.

If you want to hear the full catastrophe, you will need to download “Death In the line of duty” from the ABC Radio National Background Briefing website.

Let’s remember, these are men and women who have performed one of the hardest, most selfless jobs in society. And when they become sick, we discard them and leave them to shattered lives or worse.

We all bear a responsibility for that and it’s time we did better. The time for silence is over.

If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

William Verity has been a journalist for more than 20 years. View his full profile here.

First posted

Comments (89)

Comments for this story are closed, but you can still have your say.


  • Serenity:

    03 Mar 2014 10:05:24am

    It’s typical of governments and the hierarchy of the services and their union leaders that they overlook what’s happening on the ground.
    Having to do the dirty work of governments and seeing the horror of reality of crime on the streets, having to check for bodies in car wrecks and in domestic violence situations.
    Union leaders, governments and bureaucrats live in a world divorced from the reality of life.
    “deceased male” means nothing when a person knows the name and sees the family of a person that an officer is forced to shoot because the victim is drug-enraged or suffering mental problems (that have been exacerbated by the closing down of “mental hospitals” and the degradation of mental health units)
    As someone who has looked at suicide as a solution myself, without seeing the trauma of daily life, I fully support anything that can be done to help these heroic men and women who protect us.

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    • Bev:

      03 Mar 2014 3:14:06pm

      In our society males have always been considered “disposable” when they are no longer useful or performing the tasks so necessary to keep things going.

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  • leigh of Tregevis:

    03 Mar 2014 10:09:04am

    Plus, a few decades ago, by my observations, at least most of the people respected the work of the men and women of the force. They were seen to be relatively low-key, helping keep the community safe from criminal activities.

    Now they don’t have that respect, being seen to be working for the State rather than the people, as surveillance and infringement taxes and random stopping and restriction of movement increase. Another contributor to the stress of many officers?

    Sadly, there are also many people who still have their blinkers on, and believe the claim that this is all done for our own good.

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    • Early Grayce:

      03 Mar 2014 12:19:35pm

      The police have always been a political tool rather than a group working for the people. It seemed to you that they got worse a few decades ago because we only realise how bad he police are as an organisation as get older.
      A few decades ago we were automatically gaoling people for low level drink driving and we were also doing the same to people who attempted to commit suicide. Being treated as a criminal is just the thing that a suicidal person needs to make them more determined than ever to succeed in their suicide bid.

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      • Bev:

        03 Mar 2014 3:10:37pm

        Still goes. Threating suicide is considered an act of domestic violence. So you will be arrested held while a temporary order is obtained. If you breach you will probable be locked up. No mental health intervention is available under these conditions. Would be easier to hand the man a rope. The law is written gender neutral however it seems it is only applied to men.

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        • EarlyGrayce:

          04 Mar 2014 3:05:10pm

          I thought I might clarify that I did say attempt suicide, not threaten suicide.

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    • Applaudanum:

      03 Mar 2014 5:46:53pm

      That’s a perceptive comment, Leigh. There’s a lot more ‘questioning’ of authority now. At least, it seems that way. But I don’t think this is a direct cause of the boys and girls in blue. Rather, it has more to do with a peculiar societal need to keep on pushing the boundaries of what’s currently permissible. It’s as though ‘obeying the law’ is just not enough anymore. Who keeps turning up as the nay-sayer in this scenario, those people in blue uniforms, again and again.

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    • jimbo:

      04 Mar 2014 10:02:21am

      I live in WA, we do not have police officers, we only have tax collectors, thats all they are there for. bang thg the motorist.

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      • Skeptic:

        04 Mar 2014 11:54:43am

        Yes Jimob and if you do your best to drive properly (don’t speed or drink drive) then you won’t be paying those extra taxes, eh? If you haven’t got it by now that these are taxes for stupidity then I feel really sorry for you.

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  • Tom1:

    03 Mar 2014 10:38:53am

    This article indicates that mental health issues, no matter where they occur do not have the full understanding and sympathy of the general community they should have.

    Most, undoubtedly, all, police forces have occupational health and welfare units,staffed with full time psychologists. Officers are generally advised, or in fact ordered to seek counselling following traumatic incidents. This is well known, and the problem does not lie there.

    The problem is obviously with those officers that do not respond to early treatment, or continue in a position where traumatic incidents are the norm, and their condition worsens.

    No two officers react the same to any given situation, and some may be entirely non affected by situations that cause others stress.

    Unaffected officers, and probably even the Department could easily get hard nosed, and accuse the affected person of malingering, or not being up to the job.

    Most police services had a fairly extensive list if officers on permanent stress leave. Suicide is probably the tragic end result of an officers position of not being taken seriously.

    What to do about this is the question, and probably, as the author suggests, ending the silence is a start.

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  • Rattus rattus:

    03 Mar 2014 10:53:48am

    Something has changed in the Police culture. I’m not sure what it is, but it isn’t nice.

    Recently I was assaulted by a total stranger. The ambulance arrived before the police did, although the police station is only a 6 minute walk from where the incident occurred. Next day I attended the police station to give a statement. There was a total lack of empathy from the police involved.

    I didn’t expect them to make me a cup of tea and hold my hand, but the process of taking the statement was just that, a process. The officer involved was an automaton operating a computer terminal on a very impersonal level.

    I’ve noticed the same reaction whenever I’ve gone to the station to report stolen vehicles parked in my street. There is an invisible wall between me and the person on the other side of the glass barrier. They don’t seem to have time to smile or be human. It’s just “name, date of birth, etc” as they fiddle with the computer terminal. Not even a “thank you” at the end of it.

    Whatever the police are learning at the academy is putting them further and further away from the society they serve. Consequently when they themselves need help society can’t or won’t respond.

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    • Peter of Melbourne:

      03 Mar 2014 11:21:54am

      I know exactly where you are coming from. Not long ago a drunk totalled his car into a parked car in our suburban street. It took numerous (3 by myself and then the other neighbours) phone calls to 000 to get the police to investigate, during the 70 or so minutes it took for a unit to arrive the drunk had walked off to whereever his house was and returned with other people. He wanted to try and drive his car even though its front axle was totalled.

      Lets repeat the pertinent point though – 60min to 70min response time with the local neighbourhood directing traffic around the wrecks and attempting to stop the fool from driving again.

      A few weeks later I was rammed by an absoultely moron who was making a left hand turn from the right hand land (3 lane roadway) and then I get the excuse he cant pay for the damage because he is an International student. After calling 000 again OUR police force was too busy to attend an accident clearly caused by reckless driving and said let the insurance company sort it out. Guess shutting down those speed cameras booking people a day’s pay for travelling a few clicks over the posted speed whilst in a controlled manner would cost their political overlords a nice fat lunch.

      I have zero respect for todays revenue raisers or their political masters.

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      • PW:

        03 Mar 2014 12:05:21pm

        Unless someone is injured or a vehicle is unable to be moved, Police don’t routinely attend minor accidents. You have the guy’s details, or at the very least the registration number of the car he is driving, take some pictures with your phone and call your insurance company.

        The trend these days is for enforcement of traffic laws to be carried out by civilians. Expect to see more of these RMS operated speed camera vehicles and less police on the roads.

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      • awake:

        03 Mar 2014 2:06:11pm

        Wouldn’t you rather have the Police take their time with anincident similar to what you have reported rather then give up chasing a drug dealer or child molester?

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        • Rattus rattus:

          03 Mar 2014 4:45:10pm

          Firstly I could have died following the assault. Calling the police is usually a waste of time. All I’ve ever got from them is excuses and a little card with a reference number on it to give to my insurance company.

          Secondly, the person who assaulted me was a drug dealer. If the police had walked from the police station (6 minutes) they would have been able to arrest him, but as usual, the ambulance beat them to the scene of the crime by at least an hour.

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      • Tom1:

        03 Mar 2014 3:13:53pm

        P of M. There are innumerable bikies, criminals, and other low life elements that resent police too. However that is hardly the point.

        Your particular gripe seems to be at the government. The police no longer set up speeding cameras, nor attend them, any intelligent correspondent would know that.

        Are you prepared to pay for what is necessary to get immediate police attention for all of your own personal life dramas?

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    • Rattus rattus:

      03 Mar 2014 12:18:12pm

      I should point out that the police didn’t arrive at my home before the ambulance whisked me off to hospital to have my head stitched up.

      On another recent occasion I went to the local police station to report a crime. I was told by the interviewing officer that nothing much would be done about the crime because all police resources were allocated to surveillance on members of bikie gangs.

      Putting a handful of bikies in prison is more important in Queensland than protecting the public from ordinary decent criminals.

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    • Tim P:

      03 Mar 2014 1:53:02pm

      “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

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    • Bob:

      03 Mar 2014 3:48:34pm

      You want a super-efficient police force, capable of fighting all crime, stopping all criminals, and attending to all scenes (no matter how insignificant) within seconds?

      You want cops who can switch from compassion to ruthless pursuit in a second? Cops who can take down armed criminals without using violence or getting hurt themselves? Who can make accurate snap judgements in milliseconds? Who can appease the demands of every single citizen, no matter how trivial?

      I reckon that’ll cost a few trillion dollars. Let me know when you come up with the money.

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      • Rattus rattus:

        03 Mar 2014 4:38:58pm

        Ambulance crews and tow truck drivers always get to the scene of accidents before the police do. How do you account for that?

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  • Silenced:

    03 Mar 2014 10:54:12am

    My partner has PTSD and depression, a police officer of 24 years. There are no confidential support services within the police force for him. He is at work more than he is at home because his biggest fear is that someone from work will find out and he will be ‘gone’. I listened to the full 000 call from Ashley Bryant yesterday. The goosebumps took so long to calm. My partner could be next.

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    • Oztraveller:

      03 Mar 2014 5:36:00pm

      Silenced, it is indeed a shame when you consider that so many corporate entities pay third party providers for the provision of confidential counselling and advice services known as “Employee Assistance Services”.
      In any event, if your partner needs help, he needs to get it. If that means doing it privately, then that’s what you have to do. The alternative result is pretty worrying.

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  • Traveller:

    03 Mar 2014 10:58:14am

    Police Officers like Prison Officers, Firies and Ambos, deal with situations every day that the average person would never encounter. They are also under intense public and media scrutiny and their every action is examined to determine if any blame can be attributed to them as bad news makes news.
    During my time as a Police Officer and then a Prison Officer I personally experienced things that went beyond what a reasonable person should have to see and endure. Coupled with this we have to put up with the armchair critics and the civil libertarians who are anti authority and never miss an opportunity to put the boot in, not to mention defence lawyers who aren’t interested in the truth and are prepared to do or say anything however outrageous to get their client off. It’s hardly surprising that some police choose to end it all. Just remember, when everyone else is fleeing an incident we are the ones going the other way.

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    • MJLC:

      03 Mar 2014 2:11:13pm

      I understand and appreciate every point you’ve made Traveller.

      If you had been sold into the job by human traffickers or press-ganged as a youth by a roving gang of recruitment special constables armed with clubs I would feel sympathy as well.

      Barring that, you may wish to appreciate that the rest of us don’t have the luxury of taking on a job voluntarily and thinking we’ve got unlimited access to people’s heartstrings for the substantial challenges it poses.

      If it all got too hard you should have taken a tip from the current Prime Minister and liberated yourself. Otherwise, deal with it as quietly as you can like everyone else.

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      • damo:

        03 Mar 2014 6:37:35pm

        “Otherwise, deal with it as quietly as you can like everyone else.”

        Isn’t that the point of the article ? That everyone else is dealing with the issue in as quiet a manner as possible, including the officers themselves, & if people completing suicide is the aim then it is a successful policy.
        If suicides are not the desired result, then perhaps it’s time we shone some light into the dark corner.
        Your comment makes me think that you haven’t understood either the article or Traveller’s comment at all.
        Think about how you might feel if the distressed person was a close family member, your child perhaps or even your own spouse.
        I believe your ‘understanding’ & attitude would be markedly different.

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        • MJLC:

          03 Mar 2014 7:27:09pm

          I think you might be a tad confused about what “it” I’m referring to. (Hint: try reading the bit that starts “Barring that,…” again)

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        • damo:

          03 Mar 2014 8:00:40pm

          Read it again, got the same result, so perhaps I need further clarification of your meaning.

          “Barring that, you may wish to appreciate that the rest of us don’t have the luxury of taking on a job voluntarily and thinking we’ve got unlimited access to people’s heartstrings for the substantial challenges it poses.”

          Yep, read it once more just to be really certain that I think you are saying suck it up officer, after all, you volunteered. Please go away & deal with your issues where I can’t notice you.

          All I’m getting is that the”it” you refer to is the job that they voluntarily do. I must have misunderstood.

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        • S:

          03 Mar 2014 10:36:15pm

          I wish I couldn’t notice you, believe me…ignorance is all around us

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        • MJLC:

          03 Mar 2014 11:00:28pm

          Clearly you must have; Traveller also spent considerable time rambling about “armchair critics”, “civil libertarians”, and “defence lawyers” – all potentially annoying species to be sure, but hardly suicide-inducing material (at least in my opinion). You are, by all means, entitled to view someone with all the sympathy you can muster who has to endure such outrageous slings and arrows, myself – well, I struggle to build up the same amount of empathy.

          And, as regard the earlier comment that “…you haven’t understood either the article or Traveller’s comment at all”, could I gently point out that there is (or, at least, there used to be) a world of difference between understanding someone’s point of view and agreeing with it.

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    • LeftyRoy:

      03 Mar 2014 3:22:56pm

      Police are armed by the state, and therefore have life and death powers over people , in particular circumstances.
      Why shouldnt people , armed with potentially lethal force, be scrutinised?
      Why do police always think they are victimised.?
      After all, to use a well known police clich? – what have they got to hide, why are they nervous?
      If that is good enough for the police to justify a lot of what they do, then it equally applies to police officers.

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    • Just sayin’:

      04 Mar 2014 6:58:37am

      As I whinged to my dad about a crap, poor paying job I was doing years ago he told me to take my labour elsewhere where I would be happy to go to work. It’s like the saying, “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”.
      Having done some very unpleasant jobs which most people would baulk at due to gross/dirty/grizzly nature of the tasks I have found that not everyone can do them & will leave ASAP when they find out it isn’t like it is on TV (no smellovision). Just remember it’s people like me that tidy up after the event, after all someone has to do it. However I don’t whinge about it if I don’t like it & unhappily stay there, I just change to a ‘better’ job.
      Oh, and BTW my brother took his life years ago, as well as two work collegues who I looked up to (not at the same time or over the same issues) so I do understand the huge effect on all the people around the recently deceased. If only the issue of suicide was given a bit more concern than speeding 1km over the limit, then some of these people may still be with us today.

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  • Don:

    03 Mar 2014 11:10:17am

    I am sick & tired of hearing the same old sad story from the police & their supporters. Police officers elected of their own free volition to undertake this line of work. Nothing has greatly changed in the scenes which they must deal with. They are now better protected & supported by advanced equipment & technology than they have ever been in the past & yet they still cry “Foul”. If they can’t do the job then they should never undertaken a career in policing. The NSW Police are well known for their rorting of their own self insured workers’ compensation scheme. Common usage of the “Mortgage Buster” mental breakdown is all too well known amongst the staff who look after their workers’ compensation claims. These people after receiving their very generous payout can go on to pursue other careers & make a motza. Police should “Man Up” & stop crying & selling the story that the world is a bad place.

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    • Dove:

      03 Mar 2014 11:46:38am

      You may well have a point…sorta…kinda…but I’d raise two issues. Firstly, the training received for community policing doesn’t really prepare people to see severed heads or squashed babies. These things are disturbing for anyone. Secondly, employers have an obligation to provide a safe workplace, but given that you can’t control the world, then support mechanisms. Policing, like the military, have a culture which can do much more in terms of couselling, suppoting and treating PTSD and a variety of other work related illnesses. We’re not talking about the minority of rorters here, but rather the majority of those that are genuinely injured.

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    • Tom1:

      03 Mar 2014 12:02:11pm

      Don: Spoken like someone that has cause to resent law enforcement on any kind.

      “Nothing has greatly changed” Oh really, over what time period are you talking. Certainly not the period on our streets when drugs were unknown. When harming a police officer to escape, or spend years in gaol was not the option.

      Certainly not since drive by shootings, and criminal activities causing pay back killings were a rarity.

      Certainly not since cars could not do excessively high speeds, and the human body was more able to cope with the impact.

      Things have changes. Numbers of police have increased. They are recruited from the general public,and it is probably true to say that because of the numbers required, it is more difficult to the best suited for such an onerous occupation.

      What they do not need are knockers like you.

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    • I Care:

      03 Mar 2014 12:06:02pm

      No guesses where you work. It’s very easy to be an armchair critic when you sit behind a desk pushing a pen and waiting for YOUR bonus when one of your ‘clients’ case gets knocked back.
      How about walking a day in a Police Officers shoes. You have got absolutely no idea!
      You guys put profits before people and their families.
      $100m policy for only $138K payout – who’s got the ‘mortgage buster’??
      Please keep you appalling and offensive opinion to yourself.

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    • Hellen Wheels:

      03 Mar 2014 12:08:28pm

      I’d like to think you are a troll, but I hear people in the community and media commentators saying similar things. I would suggest that people join the police because they have a deep desire to make things better – otherwise why on earth would you continue.
      At least in the armed forces you aren’t also expected to be a revenue-raising arm of government – as well as deal with domestic situations where both perpetrator and victim turn on the police, scrape people out of their cars, be vomited on, spat on, kicked – and with absolutely no recourse. Any physical response becomes a civil liberties issue and is plastered all over the media. No “alleged” when you are a cop.
      Dear Police, thank you for pulling me over to random breath test. It makes it safer to be on the road. Thank you for fining texters and speeders. It makes it safer on the road. Thank you for putting up with people who seem to think you are a heartless automaton, when you are just like the rest of us, except you have the courage to try to make a difference. While most of us just sit and put words on a screen.
      And I’m not a police spokesman of any kind, just a grateful member of the community.

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    • PW:

      03 Mar 2014 12:09:33pm

      Had a few speeding tickets, have you Don?

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    • awake:

      03 Mar 2014 12:22:22pm

      Sick and tired are you? Well when you next need help call a grocer or a plumber forget the extremely well paid boys in blue.

      You have no idea what you are talking about and foolish to even post your ignorance.

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    • anote:

      03 Mar 2014 12:36:08pm

      Oh well, that explains the suicides then; NOT.

      Remaining silent is shameful. If the police forces have a policy to remain silent then that is much worse. The people involved can still be respected.

      I personally think suicide is the tip of an ice berg that is an ill of our society and spreads far beyond the machinations of the police forces.

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    • Terry3:

      03 Mar 2014 1:04:40pm

      What insurance company do you work for?

      I suspect one of the ones that approaches every claim on the basis that the insurer’s prime responsibility is to its shareholders first, the insured a long way last.

      Every person I have spoken to who has had call to use Income Protection has had a nightmare getting anything out of the insurer. “Mortgage Buster”? You can’t even get a proportion of your salary!

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    • David:

      03 Mar 2014 1:30:05pm

      Don spoken like a true coward. It is easy to hide behind a ABC opinion piece to slag off Cops and I suppose the Soldiers who suffer PTSD should man up because they chose to be soldiers. Like I said spoken like a true coward.

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    • Bob:

      03 Mar 2014 3:58:29pm

      Don: If everyone working in the police force took your advice, we wouldn’t have cops at all. Or firefighters, or paramedics, or any profession that faces significant stress and danger.

      No problem in the world was ever solved by the words “Like it or leave it”.

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    • damo:

      03 Mar 2014 6:10:53pm

      Yes Don, I’m sure the officers who complete suicide are really just in it for the compensation payout.
      No doubt they’ve had some good financial advice that detailed just how quickly they’ll pay off their mortgage & be on easy street, all at the expense of the down trodden, honest taxpayer such as yourself.
      Taking care of one’s family is the highest of priorities for most working people, so naturally one wouldn’t hesitate to do what ever it took to ensure a secure & comfortable future for loved ones.
      If this includes denying yourself the ability to enjoy said future then sometimes life involves sacrifices & well, that’s just life isn’t it. Or, in this case, death.
      Because remember Don, they have killed themselves, haven’t they.

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    • shiny in Tville:

      03 Mar 2014 9:22:10pm

      Don
      Mortgage buster what a joke, people assessing these claims should spend a month on the streets before they comment on whether a rort is in place or not, its just a perception. The effects of PTSD or not something that can be tested for prior to an event or after, but in your wisdom you say get out, sadly by the time Police realize they need to get out it is well beyond that point, the damage has been done.

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    • kezzybear1968:

      04 Mar 2014 10:01:14am

      The police are one of the most essential of services. Where would we be without a group of people who voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way? If you are a law-abiding citizen, you have very little direct contact and hence a bad attitude towards authority does not cause yourSELF consequences. Funding is also a huge issue. Individual police officers have no say in how much or in what way things are prioritised. No organisation on this earth is perfect. Can’t we put aside our own personal irks or even very serious concerns about response times, for this article/topic- and agree that all essential service organisations need a culture of support and to look after their members, like we expect a family or any service org to do? Silence and suicide are two GLARING SYMPTOMS.

      I found this article powerful.

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  • Hudson Godfrey:

    03 Mar 2014 11:10:52am

    I think our respect should go out to the police services in general, and our sympathies for the families of individual policemen who’ve succumbed to whatever it is was that drove them to the fateful decisions they took.

    I don’t know that we’ve cause for more or less reason for sympathy among certain occupations than others. Individual cases in any less statistically significant sample need to be examined on their merits rather than lumped together to make generalisations that prove difficult to extrapolate to a wider class of cases. Yet if part of the honour and respect we afford police officers is for their apparent capacity to function user extraordinary stress then we do individual members a disservice if that creates an expectation not to seek help when it is needed.

    If we need to more widely address stressors within law enforcement then we probably do better to acknowledge a link between community standards and expectations of policing when they begin to diverge making life more difficult. If most people’s main impression of police is a negative one then they attitudes and tension that creates can’t be good for morale.

    The kind of enforcement that creates those impressions is almost always overdue for reconsideration by our political masters whose obsession, nowhere more obvious than in Queensland at present, with “getting tough on crime” creates laws that are an absolute nightmare for police public relations. The stress that must put on the people who chose to serve their community in that role must be enormous and is by and large mostly unnecessary.

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  • Tony Gurnett:

    03 Mar 2014 11:12:13am

    ADF Vs Police Force(s)…24/7 while in “country”…both sides have weapons often more powerful than ADF (getting blown up)!

    ADF aren’t perceived as “crooks and on the take/power crazed) like the police?

    Everybody has history of family that have had ADF experience…defend the country…WW1.

    While the police have the “ugly history” of graft and corruption and stand-over tactics…tolerated but not respected!

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  • pearl:

    03 Mar 2014 11:21:26am

    Work stress no doubt contributes to police shootings in confronting situations. They’re scared, the fight or flight button is pushed once too often, and they finally snap – and shoot. Other instances of police violent over-reaction could be stress related. Personality would determine your tipping point. Horror and anger at what is encountered. Empathy.
    Pity the poor souls who finally turn the gun on themselves.
    The only way out of that sort of stress is treatment or escape. Police management should include regular stress monitoring & early intervention. Shorter hours and longer holidays for police generally as a circuit breaker – unions should try offsetting wage rises for these conditions.

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  • Dave:

    03 Mar 2014 11:31:30am

    My Dad was a cop and an active in his union both before and after retirement. I’m very proud of what he achieved for police superannuation and the wellbeing of his colleagues. He was a decent man. Unions made of decent men and women who know about the issues confronting police are a potent force for good. Police union leaders do not live in a world divorced from real life. They connect to it. My late Dad in proof positive.

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  • Terry3:

    03 Mar 2014 12:10:47pm

    I have great sympathy for those police who try to “battle on”, even though I know it is the wrong thing for them to do.

    I did it for years before being forced to stop work. I was grateful though, that I had income protection insurance. At least I would continue to receive a proportion of my salary.

    How na?ve I was! Little did I know that after a year I would be dumped by my insurance company. They argued that I should take a job that paid less than a quarter of my salary, as that was all I was now capable of doing.

    My argument that “income protection” meant just that was treated as a joke. Apparently it means until the insurers think they have paid enough. That my employer fired me on the basis that I was incapable of performing my duties was irrelevant: the insurer thought I was as good as new.

    So I can understand why police try to cover up any sign of “weakness” or feelings that they cannot go on. They have families to support and take these responsibilities seriously. Unfortunately this leads to the problems getting worse.

    The first step should be a change in the way we control insurers. At the moment, they are have a “win-win” situation. They cut off payments, and the worst that can happen is they are forced to pay, years later. In most cases, the person suffering the disability has no funds to fight and gives up. Unlike the USA, there is no chance of damages or penalties: a court win just forces the insurer to pay what they owed anyway.

    So the insurers keep blatantly breaking their own agreements, confident that this immoral behaviour will lead to bigger profits.

    Fix this and then those, like the police, who are covered by insurance and who may be suffering early stages of mental illness, can take time off to recover without condemning their families to poverty.

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  • noname:

    03 Mar 2014 12:18:54pm

    Married to an ex detective for 30 years. The damage done began to show with massive adrenaline needs – speed in anything on water, land, cars, bikes. Maybe to cover for ED. Bad temper, and constant orders on how to do anything and everything a better way. Very nasty personal attacks were the norm.

    This was closely followed by ED so no marriage to speak of for 15 years. No discussion, no treatment, just ignore the problem. He became severely addicted to serious porn and has now moved on out of our lives.

    He was a fine man, but hid all emotion and ran away from any problem – job after job. He could cope as long as I could fund his needs, but I couldn’t keep up the money and needed peace so turned away from him.

    He found solace with someone forty years his junior in a far away place. Hopefully he will find peace and not be ripped off and torn apart.

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    • Professor Rosseforp:

      03 Mar 2014 9:13:03pm

      A sad story. You know better than I do, but is it possible that he joined the police because of his desire for speed and excitement?
      A lot of young cops I have known or seen are big risk-takers, and love car chases, prangs, accidents, adrenalin-causing interaction with local crims.
      By contrast, they are bored stiff with essential jobs like patrolling trains and chasing people who don’t have tickets.
      It’s hard to know which is the chicken and which is the egg, but a lot of male ambos and firies also get stuck into the grog pretty heavily, and more than a few will indulge in gambling, money-making schemes and illicit substances.

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  • Oaktree:

    03 Mar 2014 12:20:17pm

    I once worked for the police (as a public servant) and have every sympathy for them as young people entering the job. Each day is a lottery as to what they will have to face, and many of the public tend to make their job more difficult.

    The work has become increasingly dangerous with the introduction of the drug culture into our society. Politics intrude and distort their functionality and popularity. Partners have a big load to carry in supporting Police members.

    I often provided tea and sympathy for recruits after their first road accident attendance on their first posting from Russell Street. As an untrained and very young counsellor I have no idea whether that helped, but it did give them an opportunity to talk it out. The other police were very supportive, but I am guessing they are now much busier than in those long-gone days and the new rather tougher culture born of tv dramas probably precludes much discussion.

    The selection and training process could do much to prepare Police Trainees for the ordeals they will face, as would competent debriefing after trying experiences. It all comes down to funding and resources, but I believe that more attention to this area would improve morale and prevent so much aftermath.

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  • Early Grayce:

    03 Mar 2014 12:44:55pm

    There are two main types of people who join the police force, The ones that want to help and the ones that see police harassment and think ” I want some of that.”.
    Unfortunately the people who want to help can be easily overruled by the others as they always have to look after each other. This creates an atmosphere where the helpful police feel like the job is not what they wanted to do and leave the police force for other work. Also arresting and harassing people for self harm legislation must also effect their self esteem since they want to help people but are instead told they have to arrest those people who often need the most help. These power issues within the police mean that the best police are often hounded out of the police force and very few ever climb the police hierarchy which leaves the police with the worse people for the job and even worse people in charge.
    Police on the ground are not the only people within police who suffer, there are also the people who have to read the reports every day and also people in the police ministers office who often need to read about the worse situations that have arisen. A friend of mine was working within the police ministers office a number of years ago and had to read a report that went into great detail about a car accident and my friend read how the people in the accident had suffered for a long time in great detail, the problem was that the report was for a family members death that had occurred some time before that and it caused them great distress.
    I have met few former police officers who are not alcoholics who are often divorced and their lives are falling apart.

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  • Tombowler:

    03 Mar 2014 12:48:50pm

    It’s a difficult balancing act. We expect a level of psychological fortitude in those taking Queen Elizabeth’s penny for work in which it ought not be surprising to be stressful, distressing and sometimes ugly. At the same time political masters of both stripes at state level are addicted to exploiting police as revenue raisers and being “tough” which causes dissonance between community members and coppers.

    Tough coppers who deal with an assault by way of retaliatory force are prosecuted, even where it would otherwise be seem as acceptable by general community standards, while the politically correct and inquisitorial culture encourages informing against ones comrades and causes division within the forces between those who join to police and political careerists in the force.

    I’m not sure what the answer is, the fact that many officers no longer trust their comrades and the ironic catch .22 in which if an officer decides he requires no assistance in dealing with an on duty incident it is often read as a symptom of needing treatment, means that too often the strongest are unable to progress.

    I personally advocate a return to community policing, the removal of road traffic enforcement from the purview of the police and the creation of a separate enforcement body with limited powers and policy aim of fostering trust and comradeship amongst serving officers. Not sure it’s the answer though.

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  • Chris:

    03 Mar 2014 1:01:44pm

    The concept of suicide reality is further dismissed by the shear nature of a large percentage of the Police Forces domestic incident call outs. With everyone from over indulged Teenagers to alcoholic wife bashers threatening suicide at the merest mention of consequences for actions or taking responsibility, then it’s hardly surprising that they would distance themselves from any possible perception they might also be similaly weak.
    There is so much “cry wolf” syndrome attached to the word suicide these days that it isn’t just the Police Force that take it with a pinch of salt. Add to this the leniency applied by Courts to Sociopaths and their sociopathic defence Lawyers who use depression and Suicide to manipulate legal outcomes and the Moral destruction is complete.

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    • Bev:

      03 Mar 2014 3:25:58pm

      Where ever did you get your information? Women are more likely to threaten suicide but not carry it through, whereas men generally do carry out their stated intention to suicide. Oh and gender neutral studies are showing women are more likely to commit DV while under the influence of alcohol than men.

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  • davidlb:

    03 Mar 2014 1:21:47pm

    All our dangerous services workers are treated with disdain – medals and grandiose words whilst serving.

    But ostracized, demoted, ridiculed or fired when the signs and symptoms of mental disorder caused in the line of duty occur.

    Suicide is the result of the hypocrisy manifest in the management of our service men and women.

    Our society does little to care for the damage caused to those who protect us. Except of course for grandiose words and the occasional trinket.

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    • Bev:

      03 Mar 2014 6:35:12pm

      Has been so ever since civilization (city state) first started.

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  • GraemeF:

    03 Mar 2014 1:27:01pm

    Occupations like police officers, ambos, nurses and doctors should be treated much better. They should have less time on the front line and more time to recover.

    The public are rightly concerned when police ‘snap’ and use excessive violence and it is easy to assume that a significant percentage join up because they like to be tough but sometimes some poor bugger is in the wrong place at the wrong time with a stressed out officer.

    Maybe they should make marijuana legal so not only do they stop wasting their time chasing non-violent users but could chill out with the occasional cookie instead of alcohol and the violence and despair that it leads to.

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  • GraemeF:

    03 Mar 2014 1:32:58pm

    A work colleague whose husband was in the force told me that a lot of the officers liked doing a roster with 12 hour shifts so they could work a second job. 12 hours is too long on the front line especially combined with ‘security work’ instead of relaxation during time off.

    This was at least six years ago. Has the rostering changed?

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    • Professor Rosseforp:

      03 Mar 2014 9:16:37pm

      You are spot on! For these people, the 3 twelve hour shifts provide them with their basic income, and their real interest lies in their furniture importing business, working as bouncers or security, lawn-mowing, painting, landscape gardening, home-lending, personal training, etc.
      Same with many nurses and firefighters.

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  • Magoo:

    03 Mar 2014 1:50:22pm

    PTSD is a recognised mental illness and those who suffer from it are seriously ill, just because there are no external manifestations does not make it any less serious. Having said this, I believe that any employer (Police, emergency services, Defence etc) has the responsibility to train their staff with the aim of providing resilience against this condition. A previous poster mentioned that what is devastating for one person might have no effect on another, mandatory de-briefs after every serious incident for all involved should be the norm. De-briefs with a person highly trained to spot the tell tale signs – some people may claim to be unaffected by an incident to ward off a possible diagnosis of PTSD given the stigma that it attracts.

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  • leafygreens:

    03 Mar 2014 2:06:31pm

    Its time we did better with mental health accross the board.

    Frontline public servants are just the tip of the iceberg.

    If we cant get it sorted for them… were there is a obvious cause and effect for their distress, how do we ever hope to have effective positive intervention for the general population?

    I would have assumed that by now PTSD was a recognised occupational hazard just as NIHL (noise induced hearing loss) is for industry.

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  • M Ryutin:

    03 Mar 2014 2:22:13pm

    If at first you don’t succeed….

    I have great sympathy and empathy for those who are so depressed that they take their own lives. I have had family and friends over years who have taken this as the way out, even some I have known about who have gone the voluntary euthanasia route and one who has had a family member take the opportunity of this in Europe.

    In police forces, these pressures and risks to good mental health have been known for many years and not many organisations will have their profession stress-test-compared with policing anywhere in the western world. But the state police have been dealing with these issues for hundreds of years and over a century in Australia alone.

    That said, some caution has to be taken when buying into the current NSW police union battle against the government closing loopholes to shut off the flood of new claims which were presented once the ?mortgage busters? lump sum payments were approved some years ago. Only the na?ve would think that the psycho-social false or minor claims would not rise to muddy the waters and allow good intentions to be diverted into unjust enrichment for questionable claims. In fact, the rise of such claims, some of which are so contentious that doing anything commonly associated with police work for the past 150 years has seemingly been included in the ?over the edge? mental collapse of certain officers screamed for caution to be exercised before they were accepted without question. The fact that legitimate claims are swamped by the potential for fraud is regrettable, but whilever the ?sight of a dead body and one bad dream? is sufficient to made a police officer forever dependent on the state (as one long-serving NSW detective put it on his retirement a few years ago)puts into the spotlight the issue of whether the current hard line on such claims hasn?t disadvantaged the truly damaged because of the questionable claims.

    The pity of it all is that when a certain handful of psychiatrists are the referral for many claims (recently one was running over 100 NSW cases) the current response of the government insurer getting their own ‘brick wall’ psychiatrist in opposition, we are back to the bad old days of negligence claims when it was always black v white in court.

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  • Mimi:

    03 Mar 2014 5:46:55pm

    The police need to receive instruction on presenting a professional face to the public, and doing their job of serving. They also need to be better educated, psychologically tested and extensively trained. Recently I was tailgated and harrassed by an irrate driver very late at night after he tried to pass at high speed but couldn’t since the second lane reduced to a single lane. I was in a rural area, approaching the suburbs and due to my fear, I was going too fast in a 60 area and was stopped by NSW police. Before I had a chance to say anything, the officer just demanded my license and went back his vehicle. He returned to inform me that I had an ‘appalling’ driving record and should be ashamed. My record over the last 30 years is a few speeding fines and a couple of red light cameras! I haven’t harmed anyone, hit anything, nothing like that. I was stunned at his attitude. I tried to explain about the driver harrassment but of course, since the other driver was nowhere to be seen it was dismissed out of hand. Funny how the police on real life cop shows on TV always seem eminently reasonable, must be something to do with the camera. And I notice they don’t have a show about the NSW police!

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  • shiny in Tville:

    03 Mar 2014 9:40:21pm

    If the numbers of serving Police committing suicide is of concern, well I suggest you do not look at the number of former Police who have taken this route, and the number that have tried to do so. Not that long ago it was easier to charge Police than it was to seek medical assistance for obvious deficiencies.
    The current NSW promotion system just leaves those that are depressed and suffering as mere tools for another officers promotion.

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  • brad austin:

    03 Mar 2014 10:05:06pm

    Its not only…Police Officers. What about us that HAD to retire Medically unfit and there was NO such thing as counselling!!!!,
    oh sorry there was ….grab another stubbie you’ll be right!!!!
    We are left with horrendous medical bills for hospital, counselling and medications.

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  • Steven:

    03 Mar 2014 10:28:58pm

    I am a serving member of an Australian police force, and am a little taken back regarding (a few) comments. I joined quite young with a mindset of joining an occupation that involves helping people. And mostly, nothing has changed. I pride myself in how I speak with people, and the impression that I leave with them. But what I noticed from day 1 was the overwhelming number of people who will stereotype, and often abuse you, from word go. Like the people here leaving comments such as ‘ambulances and tow trucks always get there before the police’ (proof?) After a bad day I often question why bother. After a good day where I help someone in a bad situation I remember exactly why I do what I do. I’m not claiming that were perfect (who is?) But personally I feel that the unrealistic expectations contribute to the pressures that this article is all about. We don’t ask to be treated like heroes, just be realistic. Police don’t sit around in the police station ignoring calls (as much as some seem to think). Slow response times are nearly always due to lack of staff dealing with a high number of taskings of varying natures. I guess my point is, if you appreciate what police do, when you see them, let them know. You have no idea how much it will mean to them. If you feel like you can do a better job, state police forces are always recruiting ; )

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  • standing on the sideline SYD:

    03 Mar 2014 10:48:16pm

    I always wonder if in the NSWPA, they think that it’s better to remain silent as they believe that suicide is a cowards way out.

    But let me say this: isn’t it society’s fault as a whole – that we allowed them (what were once the very people that protected us) to feel that they had to take their own life, as the only way to end the battle?

    The same goes for our vets coming home and our emergency services men and women;
    ambos, firefighters, doctors and nurses and let’s not forget our state emergency service responders in times of natural disasters.

    For me and those I know who’ve gone throug this themselves or watched a love one go through it, the fight against the black dog of PTSD starts in the community. It’s a fight we need to fight together, in our police stations, our safe base bravos, our ambulance stations, fire houses, hospitals and emergency response teams at a whole of state govt departmental level and most of all in our homes and over the back fence.

    Do one thing for all those who’ve passed on to the other side –
    make sure their death is not in vain by taking the simple concept of paying it forward to ask a real life hero are they ok? You may just save a life.

    He’ll let’s start a ‘Ask a Hero – R U OK?’ day!

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  • AskFor:

    03 Mar 2014 11:48:07pm

    It’s at least a little likely that those police officers more prone to PSTD are officers who are more negatively affected by some of the shocking incidents they have to attend to. If there’s any truth in this then our society should instigate better management, better support, of PSTD in the police force because otherwise the police force will become dominated by officers who don’t care, who are immune to the tragedies that make up their work day, and that’s not a good look.

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    • AJ Power:

      04 Mar 2014 2:44:07pm

      My friend you hit the nail on the head. Its the ones that don’t suffer that scare the crap out of me!

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  • Gary Lopez:

    03 Mar 2014 11:49:55pm

    Let’s not isolate the Police in this tragic issue, although I can see that the Macho image of the tough cop must be withheld at all cost.
    But this also applies to other people in professions that serve the public; Ambulance Officers & Nurses on the front line.
    I have spent 35 years on the front line as an Intensive Care/ Emergency/ Cardiac Nurse. Dealing with trauma and death are things we share with our colleagues in the Police Force and Ambulance Services, but we are supposed to “suck it up”!
    We are not meant to feel, we are not allowed to cry for the people we fight so desperately to save, and lose.
    And all the while the ante is upped by Governments who expect more and more from us, for very poor returns! I haven’t included Doctors in this, because at least they have the financial rewards available to them, and in a sense a means of escape, by climbing the ladder and leaving the really hard stuff to their underlings.
    I have always believed that people who work at the front line of death, dying and human cruelty need greater support, a lot more opportunities for more leave, and a greater acknowledgement, and positive action, when we are reaching the limits.
    This means we need open access to counselors, not token access, but active involvement by professionals who can identify the signs that we are falling apart, i.e. the increased use of alcohol, silence in the presence of people who should be trusted, and general withdrawal from “normal society”. Because we are not “normal society”.
    But the cone of silence will persist, particularly for the front line workers, because we cannot be seen to be weak. We have to possess no feelings because it is our job!
    Meanwhile the Politicians who rule us take the credit for our work and take the profits by demanding higher wages, more leave, and lifetime benefits.
    But I despair, we will never see proper reforms because our rulers would never bend to our needs.

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  • David Caffrey Senior Constable:

    04 Mar 2014 12:12:13am

    In March last year I walked away from the front line of the Queensland Police Service due to an “incident” that happened in the line of duty two weeks prior. To say that I was utterly deserted by my supervisors would be an understatement. The only help and support I received was that I found myself, via my G.P. who saved my life quite frankly. Lip service was paid to the so called police protocols for stress and it was more than clear that statistics were the only concern, due to the incident being a road traffic death. I have had to endure the most hostile and uncaring administrators who are more concerned with a quick resolution than actively looking to support me. All came to a head when I finally told my “Rehab officer” I use the term loosely, to “stick your money and job……….this is about me and my recovery!” Following that out burst I will admit, things have improved. I have wanted to do nothing more than return to the job I love to do, but time is not on my side. The QPS want me back to work or out via a retraining program. No consideration is given to the serious nature of this injury, and how long it can take just to function as a normal human being. Even the insurer relating to the incident SUNCORP, are taking officers to court to object to claims made by officers who are now out due to similar incidents. So on top of all that can be thrown at you, even the insurers are attempting to remove their responsibilities. I could have very nearly been yet another police statistic re suicide and I have no shame in saying that and my marriage and family have had to travel this road with me. How many more do we lose before someone takes the bull by the horns and realizes that if you deal with Anger, stress, bitterness, hate, sorrow, threats, sleep dep due to ridiculous shift expectations, assaults and death natural, unnatural and violent, not to mention the internal pressures re complaints and discipline ,that something is going to give! “Give yourself an uppercut princess and have a beer” is the usual response. Do the public realise that we don’t even have critical incident debriefs in my service. We get a phone call from a “peer support” who is employed by the same organisation, and you are really going to trust that line of assistance. No one knows the extent of this problem for sure but from first hand experience I can tell anyone that wants to listen that this is a ticking bomb, and one day some poor distressed copper might just crack and do something that we will all live to regret.

    Regards
    Unashamed and on the road to normality.

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  • Mark Hawthorne:

    04 Mar 2014 1:03:19am

    For all the ignorant people who have posted ridiculous comments re this article, I implore you to strap on a gun put on the blue suit and walk one day in a Police Officer’s shoes. Witness the trauma see mans inhumanity to man first hand, deliver a death message, hold a dying child who has been shot or killed in a MVA, then feel free to comment on what this story is about. Then you have to understand the police culture..then and only then post a comment!

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  • Mark Hawthorne:

    04 Mar 2014 1:05:26am

    Mimi: RBT, Missing Persons, Recruitment, how many shows by the NSW police do you want?

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  • jim:

    04 Mar 2014 7:01:14am

    Police, firees, ambos, teachers, nurses, – are there to serve the public. But it’s tough. Initially because those who are attracted to these roles are not all there to serve. For some it’s money and job stability, for some its the adrenaline rush, for some its status, and regrettably for some its for darker reasons.
    Then society lets them down with training which often lacks the capacity to screen out those who are capable but unfit for the realities of the job. Finally once in the role these public servants face the conflicting realities of the public at its best and worst, of traumatized individuals, of people in need of support, of government policy implementation, of departmental bean counters and of the emotional stress that becomes a part of each working day.
    All this in the company of colleagues who have adopted various coping mechanisms in order to survive the reality of the job.

    It’s time that we the public, and our elected governments realised that a society’s carers (police etc) are only as good as the status and respect we give them, the clarity of the role we assign to them, the quality of the training and support provided and the level of effort put into attracting the right people to these roles.

    Suicide and mental illness in all these roles of public service are on the rise. Let’s not blame the individuals but look rather at the inadequacies we the public and our government have created that are the cause.

    Alert moderator


  • bee:

    04 Mar 2014 7:18:41am

    What sort of job would allow you to hold the power of life in your hands? Doctors. Surgeons and the like. Yet when our officers are witnessing the very horrific, the most awful crime scenes we turn away from not wanting to know. its been going on for years in the Police Force. Yet unfortunately in our society we think going to the counsellor as unattractive as the dentist. Butt worse…at least with the dentist there is some relief. when cops make mistakes they are subjected to the most intense scrutiny as one should be. But where is the scrutiny of occupational health and safety to the officer? Before they come home to their beautiful families? Our most vulnerable are not being supported enough.

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  • mick:

    04 Mar 2014 8:56:02am

    it happens in all govt departments and private business.
    why such a fuss about cops.
    the best thing people can do is leave job if that’s how they start to feel.
    really a lot of them should not be cops

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    • leafygreens:

      04 Mar 2014 10:10:49am

      If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the hitchen?
      What if the kitchen isn’t actually safe for anyone to start with?

      While there are always going to be some people who find out they are not suited to a job, telling a worker to leave their job if they get think they are injured a strange fix when all other reasonably practicable avenues remain to be identified, assessed and implement.

      … 40 years ago that was the attitudes to physical injury and illness in industry…
      its a manual job of course you expect to have a bad back at your age.
      Asbestos? No proof it is a real problem!!..
      Noisy workplace.. you want earplugs? what are you? bit of a mummy’s boy?
      Just drive the tractor, doesn’t matter whats in spray tank..

      When people are pointing out the support for psychological injury is inadequate and may be contributing to the problem…
      and the culture being exposed is still about blaming the injured worker for being weak, then we have plenty to do waay before telling workers to go get another job if they start feeling stressed/ unsafe

      Alert moderator


  • opavanm:

    04 Mar 2014 9:34:14am

    The authorities and associations are not going to do anything about this matter as outlined in the article. So we citizens could(should) form support groups around each police station in our neighbourhoods, investigate and document the current and past trauma instances and make known to our local communities. That will stir the possum whilst lending practical assistance to the victims of this horrendous hidden conspiracy.

    Alert moderator


  • Andrew:

    04 Mar 2014 10:45:55am

    A little perspective might help. Dr Allison Milner presented a paper at the National Suicide Prevention Conference in Melbourne last year which stated that the workers at greatest risk of suicide were unskilled, low paid workers. Labourers, cleaners agricultural workers were the occupations most over represented in suicide – not police. Other studies have shown that police suicide is on par with the general population.

    Police have a tough job but so do many other people. Many jobs are more dangerous than policing if we look at the work related death statistics in this country. Suicide and mental health are very real issues but to focus on one occupation seems to ignore the reality of the problem.

    Alert moderator


  • vulcan:

    04 Mar 2014 11:38:13am

    1. I have dealings with someone who is constantly referring to stress situations and manipulating for a payout.
    2. I have dealings with several cops who are working their butts off trying to do a great job.
    3. In every job there are people who will try to manipulate the system for their own ends.
    4. Why is anyone allowed to go home without immediate conferencing at the end of each day?
    5. Mandatory conferencing should be included in costings.
    6. Where are the studies to find out what changes a police officer from helpful mode to automaton mode?
    7. Why are cops allowed to work all their lives in the job exacerbating the PTSD circumstances?
    8. Why aren’t cops constantly assessed without favoritism?
    9. Why are the INSURANCE companies allowed to control how much help an officer is able to get?
    10. Society has changed. It is now a war out on the streets.
    This is not a racist comment but
    Everyone that comes from a war zone comes with a certain amount of paranoia. That is then reflected in society, in homes and out on the streets.
    That social unrest is reflected in movies, books, pornography and computer games.
    Computer games were designed to makes soldiers more efficient in controlling situations and kill scenarios.
    Children and adults have access to these games constantly.
    Society has changed. The old policing strategy no longer works.
    Some cops realize that and their suicides reflect the situation.
    Cops are being sent out into a 21st century environment with an almost 18th century training.
    I can hear the screams now that the training is good. If that is so – why are so many cops killing themselves?

    Alert moderator


  • Di :

    04 Mar 2014 11:50:58am

    I find it so distressing that theses brave defenders of our society do not get the help they deserve. All assistance is offered to our criminals in detention and people who enter our country illegally , who claim to be refugees.
    Some of the things these dedicated officers have to deal with is enough to traumatise the toughest person .
    I work in a small hospital where there are only 2 female nurses on duty after 5pm weekdays and weekends, we deal with some very nasty people, the police could not be more helpful when called .
    Finally?. they are human beings with feelings and reactions just the same as you or me.

    Alert moderator


  • Skeptic:

    04 Mar 2014 11:52:14am

    Thank you William for drawing attention to this very important issue. This situation is very similar to that which affects defense personnel but clearly requires more attention in the public and political spheres than it is currently receiving. Personally I can’t imaging just how difficult it is to be a copper and having to deal with what comes up for them on a daily basis. One thing is for sure – I am always careful on the roads or when I go out to the pub. By doing I hope not to give them anything difficult to deal with. I just wish that morons who think they can do what they please and that there will be no bad consequences for stupid actions (drug taking, drink driving and so on) would come to the same realization. That would make everyone’s life better!

    Alert moderator


  • Mykel:

    04 Mar 2014 11:54:05am

    It is a very thin blue line…

    It is an unspeakable tragedy when a young man or woman lays down their life in the line of duty.
    I have always had the upmost respect for the men and women who leave their families to protect my own.
    It’s much, much more than a job. Yes it’s their choice and yes they get paid to do it but sometimes no money in the world could justify the pressures they are forced to work under or the horrors they are forced to endure.

    We watch as they put their lives on the line, time and time again, so we can enjoy the freedom and safety we so often take for granted. Not all of them are perfect (who is?) but the vast majority are irrefutably honest and downright hardworking.

    Being a police officer can be an incredibly thankless job. Everyone is eager to point out their shortfalls or scrutinise their lack of action.
    The police were too slow to respond. The police don’t do enough. The police give too many tickets, and so on and so on. Very few could comprehend, I mean really comprehend, the complexity of their position.
    Most police stations in are understaffed and under resourced.
    The stretched officers that man the stations are frequently required to work ridiculously long shifts, usually either side of just a few hours of sleep. They miss out on family birthdays, public holidays and their children’s school assemblies.

    They do this so they can be spat at, sworn at, physically abused, and in the worst instance, killed. Yes it’s their choice and yes they get paid to do it but that does not mean for a single second they don’t deserve our upmost appreciation and admiration.

    I urge you all to pay your respects to the men and women in blue. Our local police officers live in, and contribute to, the community they serve; they protect our property and our loved ones; they put their lives on the line each and every time they clock on for work; and they do it with very little gratitude and are constantly let down by our courts.

    DON’T LIKE COPS? Next time you’re in trouble, call a crack head.

    Alert moderator


  • Lynn:

    04 Mar 2014 1:39:43pm

    In recent times more and more junior officers are one putting their welfare over the job. Much of this attitude is not just seeing the results or 20 plus years of policing on their senior officers, it is also because of people like Don and his comments. Their thinking is why should I risk my life for a person like that with an obvious dislike for me and what I do. That attitude is brought about by people with Don’s views who represent a growing number of the community.

    Many Police don’t like the department they work for but they love their job. Why do they do it, it’s not money, it not working crappy shifts, missing public holidays, Christmas, New Year with their families. Its not the enjoyment of seeing things that no one should ever see, it’s not living with a constant threat of violence, putting yourself in harms way at every job or even your family, children and yourself being on the end of personal attacks just because what you do for a job. There is only one reason you would be a cop and that is because you do care and want to make a difference. If that was not the case they would not last 12 months.

    A couple of thing some people leaving comments need to remember:

    Firstly, a cop knows what it is like to be a police officer and a citizen but a citizen only knows what it is like to be a citizen. No amount of study or degrees or perception will ever change that.

    Secondly, like it or not, a police officer is sworn to protect you arse, not kiss it.

    Alert moderator


    • Sumit:

      04 Mar 2014 2:14:36pm

      As an ex cop, I can say most cops stay in the job for the job security(even though it’s risky), the holidays and because after a few years in the job, most can’t do anything else that would pay the same with the same perks.

      Alert moderator


  • Thinblueline:

    04 Mar 2014 2:36:47pm

    As a serving officer from WA I just wanted to thank all those who have left kind and thoughtful comments on this thread.

    Yes, it is an occupation I chose to do 24yrs ago when still a pimply 19yr old and I have had many ups and downs along the way. But I like to think I have helped many people through the years by either catching the crooks or being the first shoulder people cry on after I have informed them a loved one has passed away tragically.

    There have been silly comments here about revenue raising and corruption etc but most of the guys and gals do the right thing every shift they book on. Yes, there are bad eggs out there and they embarrass and anger me immensely when I hear about it.

    I just know that when I go home after a hectic shift and see my 9 and 7 year old boys I can think I have in some small way contributed to their and the communities safety.

    Alert moderator

Comments for this story are closed, but you can still have your say.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-03/verity-our-shameful-silence-on-police-suicide/5294142

 

 

A letter from Deborah Bryant, dated 1 June 2014:

Forgotten 300 page 8 of 21

 

 

Police officer’s suicide call ‘I’ll be gone before they arrive’

An emergency call from Detective Sergeant Ashley Bryant about to commit suicide has aired as part of an investigation into PTSD in the police force.

 

WARNING: This article deals with suicide and could be triggering for some readers.

Police refuse to release figures for the number of serving or retired police officers who have taken their lives as a result of PTSD, but in NSW alone in the last 18 months more than five times as many officers died by their own hand than were killed in the line of duty.

These startling figures are revealed in a Sunday Night investigation into post-traumatic-stress-disorder in the police force.

An emergency call from Detective Sergeant Ashley Bryant also aired. The call was placed before he took his own life and in it he asked for more to be done to assist sufferers.

In December 2012, after 23 years with the force, Bryant resigned from the force due to ongoing PTSD.

He had been treated on and off for a decade and considered quitting the job he loved as a last resort.

“It made him feel much, much, worse,” his wife Deb Bryant told Sunday Night.

“From my point of view I was really happy that he’d finally taken that step, but he was devastated.”

“It’s what he called the pinnacle of his career. There’s no greater privilege than to investigate the homicide of someone and so he was very, very, proud to do that.”

When his disability insurance was denied, his world finally fell apart.

“That just began a downhill spiral, things became really difficult at home again.”

“We discussed him going back to the rehab centre, and again he refused to do that.”

In the recording Bryan requests that his reason for taking his life be recorded by the coroner.

“I understand that this is being recorded and I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. I can no longer live with the trauma of it and I want this to go to the coroner,” he said in the 000 call.

“There needs to be more done, more things put in place for what happens. Listen, 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.”

Mrs Bryant said her husband’s work began affecting him early in his career.

“From the early days there were always incidents and he could come home and was affected by it. Whether it be motor vehicle accidents or self-harm, suicides, infant deaths.”

“It was really heartbreaking to see that strong person become a shell of himself.”

In over 20 years as a cop Allan Sparkes’ experienced the extremes of the job.

Esther McKay was also a dedicated cop for 21 years – most of it as a forensic crime scene investigator – until she was medically discharged with PTSD in 2000.

She said she felt forced to walk away from the job she loved.

“I realised that I was going to lose my career which was quite devastating and I think when you talk to police you will see that they love their job, it’s a real passion.”

“It got to a stage where I was effectively negotiating with myself not jump off a cliff.”

 

If you are struggling with depression or PTSD click here to visit Lifeline or call 131114

The following titles are by officers featured in our story:
Allan Sparkes: ‘The Cost of Bravery
Esther McKay: True Stories from the Life of a Country Crime Scene Cop
Jeff Garland: Split Second Story
Belinda Neil: Under Siege

https://au.news.yahoo.com/sunday-night/features/a/25520435/police-officers-suicide-call-ill-be-gone-before-they-arrive/

 

 ‘I’ll be gone before they arrive’. Police officer Ashley Bryant’s chilling 000 call before he took his own life

THE widow of a homicide detective who took his life following a battle with Post Traumatic Stress disorder has called for more support for police officers suffering stress after his final Triple 0 call was aired last night.

Former detective sergeant Ashley Bryant had service for more than two decades when he quit the police service in December 2012.

He had endured several traumatic experiences on the job, had been treated on and off for a decade and had regularly contemplated walking away. Eventually it all became too much.

A year later he phoned Triple 0 from Minyon Falls in the NSW Northern Rivers Region.

Harrowing 000 call ... Former Detective Sergeant Ashley Bryant

Harrowing 000 call … Former Detective Sergeant Ashley Bryant

A job that took its toll ... Ashley Bryant who took his own life after battling PTSD

A job that took its toll … Ashley Bryant who took his own life after battling PTSD

“I understand that this is being recorded and I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. I can no longer live with the trauma of it and I want this to go to the coroner,” he said in the call aired by Seven’s Sunday Night program.

“There needs to be more done, more things put in place for what happens.

“Listen, for partners, of those that suffer, because I suffer and so do the partners. And there has to be more done for them all right, I have no more to say.”

The Triple 0 operator then urged Mr Bryant to wait until emergency service arrived. He replied ‘I’ll be gone before they arrive.’

 

‘Heartbreaking’.... Deborah Bryant’s former police officer husband battled PTSD.

‘Heartbreaking’…. Deborah Bryant’s former police officer husband battled PTSD.

‘He became a shell of himself’ ... Bryant pictured with wife Deborah and children.

‘He became a shell of himself’ … Bryant pictured with wife Deborah and children.

Mr Bryant’s wife Deborah, who played the recording to Sunday Night’s Melissa Doyle, said the rigours of his job took its toll.“From the early days there were always incidents and he could come home and was affected by it,” she said.

“Whether it be motor vehicle accidents or self-harm, suicides, infant deaths.

“It was really heartbreaking to see that strong person become a shell of himself.”

Despite the devastation of leaving a career he had been intensely proud of, Mr Bryant had optimism for the future.

But when his disability insurance was denied his life went on a downward spiral.

According to Sunday Night in NSW alone in the last 18 months more than five times as many officers died by their own hand than were killed in the line of duty.

In a statement to the program NSW Police Minister Stuart Ayres said the welfare of police officers remained one of his highest priorities

“I am committed to working with the NSW Police Force to improve police officer welfare and note the NSW Government has invested $15-million in welfare focused programs.

‘The NSW Police Force now has over 79 activities and initiatives in place to promote wellbeing and prevent injury, improve injury management, and rehabilitate and redeploy injured officers.”

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

You will also find useful resources at beyondblue.org.au

 

Ashely is NOT mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance

Further reading:

http://aworkcovervictimsdiary.com/2014/11/police-suicide-workers-compensation-remembering-ashley-bryant/

Police suicide and workers compensation – remembering Ashley Bryant

The following article and story were submitted by an ex-police officer who attempted suicide, in the context of the recently aired documentary “Police officer’s suicide call ‘I’ll be gone before they arrive” by Channel 7’s Sunday Night program.

Police suicide and workers compensation – remembering Ashley Bryant

Submitted by ‘HeadNoises”

On Sunday 16 November 2014 in NSW, Channel 7’s ‘Sunday Night’ program showed a documentary in relation to the police suicide of Ashley
Bryant
. ashley-bryant2

He was suffering from PTSD and killed himself from what seems to be as a result of the poor the treatment he was receiving at the time from the workers compensation insurer. He was such a nice bloke. Such a huge loss. His death should not be in vain….

The documentary highlighted the number of police suicides. What needs to be highlighted as well are those medically discharged police who suicide.
And what about the many police/ex-police who have attempted suicide?

I fall into that category. If it wasn’t for a mate who called the police and their quick response, I may very well have been dead right now.

I just hope that attempt suicide statistics are also gathered as they are part of this greatly important inquiry that seems to be developing in light of the program. There would be a huge amount. And this would correlate closely to the number of police/ex-police hospitalised into psychiatric wards – many repeatedly for suicidal attempts as well as for feeling suicidal (without an attempt) and seeking help, plus those riddled with depressions, anxiety and PTSD symptoms that have got so bad that hospitalisation is the outcome. I believe hospitalisation statistics also should be added to the information provided to an inquiry.

The Forgotten 300 I know have been campaigning as well for the atrocious treatment of injured workers by the insurer MetLife.

Ashley’s suicide surely means that a royal commission or very thorough inquiry and investigation needs to be made throughout the whole Workers Compensation system, the allegations of illegal fraudulent reporting by IMEs (Independent Medical Examiners), the potential criminal conduct of insurance agents, the lack of adherence to OH&S by Police and their relationship with insurers, the carte blanche surveillance approaches, the whole legal process and the defence basing evidence off biased doctors, what levels of integrity were used to decide to use these doctors and what is their history and relationship to insurance companies and police defence teams in court.

What are the levels of bias within the IME system with the appeals being overseen by other IMEs known to each other in the WCC? We need to look at all IMEs and what they are being paid and what they are being used for as well as IMEs in the past who have been favourable towards a claimants claim being struck off their books. My first IME was sacked after he made a mistake as to the type of interview he was supposed to be carrying out. i.e. an administrative oversight – but EML sacked him. Not given another chance. And instead I went to a hired gun IME.

Investigations into IMEs need to be deployed in an intrusive thorough and secretive manner. There needs to be the use of the ICAC and an independent investigative authority with no conflict of interests.

This needs to span deep within the whole system.

Witnesses are needed who can roll-over and provide incriminating evidence. People need to be charged, convicted, gaoled, sued, have their practicing licenses taken off them. They need to be named and shamed.

As has been shown on 60 Minutes New Zealand – there are witnesses within the insurance system for starters who have mentioned using these highly paid IMEs to ‘exit’ difficult and long term claimants. And they are now in Australia.

It makes me feel physically sick.

ashley-bryantPlease can you set up a page dedicated to Ashley Bryant and address what needs to take place.

This is for all the honest hard working police and ex-police in NSW, but also for everyone else embroiled in this system who has been touched in any way by suicide and/or attempt suicides.

Thank you.

 

Related articles on the news:

Police officer’s suicide call ‘I’ll be gone before they arrive’

Our shameful silence on police suicide

Death in the line of duty

Death in the line of duty: breaking the silence on police psychological injuries (David Shoebridge)

Ashley Newton BRYANT (Australian Police)

 

 

‘Sex assaults’ at osteopath

 

4 August 2016 and Garth Duggan is still in the headlines.

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