Elliott Peter WATT

Elliott Peter WATT

Western Australia Police Force

Regd. # ?

Rank:  Sergeant

Stations?, Kondinin, Collie ( acting OIC ) – death

ServiceFrom  ? ? ?  to  22 December 2008 = 15 years Service


Born:  31 July 1972

Died on22 December 2008

Cause:  Suicide – Service firearm – in the Station Armoury

Age:  36

Funeral date?

Funeral location?

Buried at?

 Memorial at?

Date of Inquest:  13 – 16 February 2012

 Date of Inquest finding:  20 March 2012



ELLIOTT is NOT mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance  * BUT SHOULD BE


 Funeral location ?



Police officer’s death not suspicious: police


Police from the internal affairs unit are investigating the death of an officer at the Collie Police Station, south of Perth.

Sergeant Elliott Watt was found dead in the armoury room of the station yesterday.

Police say he shot himself with a police issued firearm.

Speaking outside the station this morning, Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said local officers were shocked.

“This has affected all of the police officers and their families,” he said.

“It’s a very a tragic situation that’s occurred at a difficult time of the year when we’re moving up to Christmas.”

Sergeant Watt was the second in charge at the station and had been in Collie for 12 months.

He leaves behind a wife and four children, aged 11, five, three and 18 months.

His death is not been treated as suspicious, and his fellow officers are being offered counselling.



Coronial inquiry into police officer’s suicide


Perth Police headquarters
Perth Police headquarters

The Perth Coroner’s Court has heard that exposure to a number of critical incidents, including fatalities, could have contributed to a police officer’s suicide.

The Coroner has begun an inquiry into the death of Elliot Peter Watt, 36, at the Collie police station in 2008.

Sergeant Watt, who was the acting officer-in-charge of the station, had four sons.

His body was discovered in the station’s armoury alongside his police-issue firearm.

The Coroner is investigating what impact the daily access to firearms had on the sergeant and whether WA police had adequate mental health safety checks in place.

His wife, Emma Watt, told the court her husband was deeply affected by his work.

Mrs Watt told the inquiry her husband’s mental health started to deteriorate when he was stationed in Kondinin and he had to attend a number of critical incidents with limited or no back up.

She said these included a serious car accident involving children, a farmer’s suicide and an unsuccessful attempt to resuscitate a footballer.

Mrs Watt said he was never offered counselling by WA Police and bottled up his emotions.

Earlier today, the court was told Internal Affairs investigated Sergeant Watt’s death and found there was no single work related incident that triggered his death.

The family’s lawyer said the critical incidents were just as likely to contribute to the suicide as any family problems.

The inquiry also heard Sergeant Watt was depressed in the the years leading up to his death and was looking for another job.

The inquest continues tomorrow.



The wife of a policeman who shot himself while on duty at a WA country police station has described how he broke down the night before crying and said he had enough of work but didn’t know what was wrong.

Elliott Peter Watt, 36, took his own life with a police pistol in the armoury of Collie police station on December 22, 2008his first day back after a three week break.

An inquest is now examining the tragedy and whether strategies can be used to avoid a repeat of the police suicide.

Today, Emma Watt described how her husband, a father of four, had displayed a dramatic change in his behaviour in the days leading up to his return to work, showing feelings of agitation, withdrawal, and finding a lack of pleasure in the things he used to enjoy.

She said his dislike of going to work had reached the point where she had to wake him up for work, prompt him to shower and lay out his uniform with the belt through the loops and items in his pockets so that he would attend.

The night before he killed himself, she had asked him what was wrong, she told the inquest today.

“He just looked at me and said ‘I just don’t know’,” she said.

“He said that just everything was getting to him… he said he had enough as far as work went…. (but) he didn’t want to leave us financially with no income.”

Mrs Watt said he had eventually withdrawn from her again, prompting her to call Lifeline in hysterics.

The inquest has heard earlier evidence that Acting Sen. Sgt Watt had dealt with “critical incidents” during one stint at a country police station including the failed resuscitation of a young man.

He had also attended a serious car crash in which a child was badly injured and the suicide of a farmer in his car after which he had to clean the blood-stained ute and return it to the farmer’s wife.

The inquest heard Acting Sen. Sgt Watt, who had 15 years experience in the police force, worked by himself for extended periods while stationed at country towns and had $35,000 worth of annual leave owing when he died – the equivalent of about five months’ leave.

Mrs Watt today said she had believed her husband was depressed. But she rejected suggestions his state could have been solely due to the domestic pressures of having young children and a relatively new and senior job.

She said she had not called a doctor because her husband, who she described as quiet and private, had been angry when she once suggested he could be depressed.

However, after her call to Lifeline on December 21, 2008 she had made plans to visit a GP with her concerns – a visit she had unfortunately scheduled for two days after her husband shot himself.

Mrs Watt said she had assumed the police force looked after its officers and that annual checks would be conducted on their mental health.

She told the inquest she would have contacted the police force’s health and welfare division earlier in the year with her concerns about his increasing mood swings but that she had been unaware of the division.

Mrs Watt said her husband was unlikely to ask for assistance from within the police force, but she believed information about the health and welfare division should also be provided to partners of police officers.

The inquest has heard an internal police investigation found there was “no one specific incident” that seemed to prompt Acting Sen. Sgt Watt’s suicide, though the investigator agreed his involvement in critical incidents could have affected him.

The report instead suggested non-work issues could be to blame.

The inquest heard training and education about stress management was required for police but they were also expected to ask for assistance.

Det-Sgt Judith Seivwright, who conducted the internal police report on the suicide, denied suggestions that officers feared asking for counselling or assistance would be viewed negatively by senior officers.

The inquest continues.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14


Burden too much to bear for policeman Elliot Watt who shot himself

COUNTRY policeman Elliott Watt cleaned up after a farmer’s suicide, tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate a young footballer and was brought to tears by a child’s injuries from a car crash in the months before he told his wife he did not want to go to work anymore.

The senior sergeant shot himself at the Collie police station in Western Australia’s southwest after telling his wife everything was getting to him.

In an inquest that is throwing a spotlight on the difficult work of police in isolated rural stations, Watt’s widow, Emma, said her husband killed himself because he did not want his moods affecting their three children. He took his life three days before Christmas 2008.

The night before, Watt broke down and told his wife everything was getting to him and he had had enough of work.

Giving evidence yesterday, Mrs Watt said she had to get her husband out of bed each morning, make sure he had a shower and make him get dressed and go to the station.

She had earlier told the court about three critical incidents her husband had been involved in while he was the officer in charge at Kondinin, a town of 300 people 275km southeast of Perth.

She said she had found her husband crying after attending a car accident in which a child was injured. He had tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate a young football player, and he had to clean the ute of a farmer who had killed himself in it with a shotgun.

She said her husband had become withdrawn after the transfer to Collie.

She said he had expressed feelings of “nothingness”, played less with the children and could not sleep or concentrate.

The next morning, Watt showered and dressed himself. “That’s why the day he died was so unusual,” she said.

Later that day, he took a gun from the station’s armoury and shot himself.

If you are depressed or contemplating suicide, help is available at Lifeline on 131 114.



Coroner calls for police wellness checks


The Police Union says it is unfortunate the suicide of a police officer had to be the catalyst for reform in WA’s police service.

The coronial inquest into the death of Acting Senior Sergeant Elliott Watt concluded yesterday.

Sergeant Watt shot himself at the Collie Police Station in 2008.

Coroner Alistair Hope has recommended WA police conduct annual health and wellness reviews on every police officer in the State.

The President of the Police Union Russell Armstrong says more resources are needed.

“Not enough staff within health and welfare, four clinical psychologists for nearly 6000 people and we’re dealing with 24/7 critical incidents,” he said.

“And that is not enough staff, so it’ll have to be resourced and resourced very quickly.

“It’s long overdue and should have been put in place a long time ago,” he said.

WA police are yet to review the recommendations.



Office of the State Coroner, Western Australia – Annual report – 2011 – 2012

Elliott Peter WATT

The  State  Coroner  conducted  an  inquest  into  the  death  of  Elliott  Peter  Watt  (the  deceased) with  an  Inquest  held  at  Perth  Coroner’s  Court  on  13‐16  February  2012.  The  State  Coroner found  that  death  occurred  on  22  December  2008  at  Collie  Police  Station,  Collie,  as  a  result  of gunshot wound to the head in the following circumstances ‐

The  deceased  was  an  acting  Senior  Sergeant  of  police  with  Western  Australian  Police  (WA Police) at the time of his death on 22 December 2008.  The deceased was born on 31 July 1972 and so was 36 years of age at the time of his death.

The  deceased  died  at  the  Collie  Police  Station  as  a  result  of  a  self  inflicted  gunshot  wound.  At the time he was the relieving Officer in Charge of the Collie Police Station, the day of his death
was his first day back at work after a period of three weeks long service leave.

On  the  day  of  his  death  the  deceased  worked  from  8am  and  had  been  conducting  his  normal duties as the Officer in Charge of the Police Station throughout the day.  It appears that he was last seen at about 3:45pm.

The deceased was discovered in the armoury at 4:25pm having died of a gunshot wound to the head.

The  deceased  used  the  Glock  pistol  which  had  been  allocated  for  his  own  use  to  shoot  himself while alone in the armoury of the Collie Police Station.

None  of  the  police  officers  on  duty  at  the  Collie  Police  Station  heard  the  shot  being  fired  and none  were  alert  to  the  possibility  that  the  deceased  might  be  about  to  take  his  own  life  prior to his doing so.

The State Coroner found that the death arose by way of Suicide.

The State Coroner observed that it was important that families of serving members are alert to the available services as it is often family members who are most aware of changes in a person suffering from mental health problems.

In that context the State Coroner made the following recommendation –

I  recommend  that  WA  Police  take  action  to  better  promote information in relation to available services to families of serving members.
The  State  Coroner  observed  that  the  deceased’s  colleagues  were  not  alert  to  his  deteriorating mental  condition.  This  was  in  large  part  because  the  deceased  concealed  his  condition  from them,  but  it  is  also  clear  that  they  had  received  little  training  in  the  management  or identification of persons suffering from depression.

Evidence  at  the  inquest  revealed  that  for  officers  taking  on  senior  management  roles,  while training in respect of these issues is available, it is at present not a mandatory requirement.

The State Coroner made the following recommendation –

I  recommend  that  training  in  respect  of  the  identification  and  management  of  officers suffering  from  stress  or  depression  should  form  part  of  the  training  for  police  officers entering management roles.

The  State  Coroner  made  the  following  recommendation  in  respect  to  improving  the  recording of  conversation  with  the  Health  and  Welfare  Branch  of  WA  Police  in  the  context  of  evidence relating to contacts which had not been recorded or filed –

I  recommend  that  WA  Police  ensure  that  there  is  in  place  appropriate  computer  software which  will  enable  the  recording  of  all  contacts  to  the  Health  and  Welfare  Branch  relating  to individual officers where concerns have been expressed as to the welfare of those officers.

The State Coroner observed that the evidence in this case has highlighted the fact that policing can be a demanding and stressful occupation.

The  deceased  was  described  as  a  very  good  officer  who  was  generally  highly  regarded  and  yet none of his work colleagues had any real appreciation of his deteriorating mental health.

In  the  State  Coroner’s  view  there  needs  to  be  some  form  of  regular  health  review  or  wellness review of every police officer in WA Police.

In this context the State Coroner made the following recommendation –

I  recommend  that  WA  Police  put  in  place  a  system  which  would  ensure  that  in  respect  of every member there is some form of wellness review conducted or at least offered each year which will identify significant changes in physical and mental health.

A  letter  dated  20  March  2012  addressed  to  the  Minister  for  Police  invited  the  Minister  to respond to the State Coroner’s recommendations.  At the  time of publishing the annual report a response had not been received from the Minister’s office.

Emma McLaren‎ to Thin Blue Line – Australia
Sunday  14 February 2016


I remember my husband spending 3 nearly whole days in 45*C + heat scrubbing a farmers ute to give back to his widow. It had sat in full sun for nearly a week and as the OIC in a country town you do it yourself – and he wouldn’t let me help, he always wanted to protect me from the nasty side of the job. 3 days stressing it was pristine, immaculate; nothing left to distress the farmers family further. He didn’t realise the toll it took on himself. He was Beginning to realise he was battling inside his own mind with these thoughts….I still remember him saying to me ” Everyday. Everyday I get kitted up and think how easy it would be. ”

It will be 8 years this year. And still no closer to acknowledging those already lost, and helping, saving, those suffering.

So sad….Everyday I think, how easy it would be. Easy it would be to stop talking and start doing. Helping. Acknowledging. Remembering. Sharing. Supporting. And stop this waste!


Retired WA policewoman seeks compensation


Project Recompense
Prepared by the WA Police Union
November 2014
p 32
The Watt Inquest
An inquest into the death of Sergeant Elliott Peter Watt (who, at the time of his death in December 2008, was a serving WA police officer) was undertaken in February 2012. The Watt Inquest outlined that Sergeant Watt had deteriorating mental health, characterised by:
Irritable moods, generally quite snappy and grumpy;
Pushing his wife away, threatening separation;
Expressing unhappiness in areas of his work and life;
No motivation;
Being short-tempered and moody; and
Becoming completely absorbed in computer games
It was noted that Sergeant Watt had experienced three specific traumatic incidents in his career, being: the attendance at a car accident that had involved young children; the attendance at a suicide by a farmer in which Sergeant Watt had to clean the utility involved before returning it to the family; and the prolonged, attempted resuscitation of a young footballer, who later died
It appeared that as Sergeant Watt’s job responsibilities increased, his stress levels increased and his mental health declined. Despite an informal mental health assessment by his senior management
none of Sergeant Watt’s colleagues “had any real appreciation of his deteriorating mental health”
The coroner made several very important comments regarding police officer health and safety as it was noted that “serving police officers can be
vulnerable to serious mental health problems as a result of their work”
. The coroner noted that:
Being transferred to certain locations can place pressures on police officers;
Police officers “face regular exposure to stressful situations including violence inflicted on them and others, trauma and death scenes”
Coroner’s Court of Western Australia,
Inquest into the death of Elliott Peter Watt
, Government of Western
Australia, Perth, 2012.
Ibid, p. 10.
Ibid, p. 17.
Ibid, p. 36.
Ibid, p. 29.
“The health and welfare of serving police officers requires ongoing monitoring and support”
“It is the responsibility of the Health and Welfare Services of WA Police to educate and train personnel in the management of stress, and in particular, post-trauma stress”
“Officers involved in critical incidents may suffer problems months or even years after those incidents and so there is an ongoing need to monitor [police officer] health and wellbeing”
; and
It is vital that “families of serving members are alert to the available services as it is often family members who are most aware of changes in a person suffering from mental health problems”
The inquest outlined four recommendations:
WA Police must take action to better promote information in relation to available [mental health] services to families of serving Members
Training for police officers entering management roles should include identification and management of officers suffering from stress or depression
WA Police is to ensure that appropriate computer software is in place to enable the recording of all contacts to the Health and Welfare Services relating to individual officers where concerns have been expressed about the welfare of those officers
; and
WA Police must put in place a system which would ensure a wellness review be conducted (or at least offered) to every member, in order to identify significant changes in physical and mental health
The coroner was adamant that there needed to be some mechanism within WA Police to regularly review the mental and physical health and wellbeing of every WA Police officer
. Significant changes such as “an increase or decrease of over 10kg in weight over a 12 month period, significant deterioration in fitness, unexplained mood changes or an officer becoming more isolated from his or her colleagues” were flagged as being important to note within these welfare checks
. The coroner also acknowledged, to some extent, the stigma associated with admitting to suffering from stress or from mental health problems and the likelihood this declaration has on promotional opportunities.
The recommendations outlined in the Watt Inquest were also referred to within the Toll of Trauma Inquiry