Reading the 2011 New South Wales Police Injury Management Review is a bit like going to a sorority dinner with more rah rah rah than a troop of cheerleaders.  According to this report there’s naught wrong with the “excellent” NSW Force’s treatment of injured officers, further the individuals responsible (Commanding Officers) are second to Jesus in “excellence”.  They don’t mention their ability to walk on water as far as I know, but in fairness I got a tad cross eyed so it could well be in there.

In the centre of all this profusely fabulous ass cheek kissing report is this:  “work needs to be done to address the mechanistic and adversarial approach by many to injury management”.  Further, slipped in there is this: “The New South Wales Police Force needs a paradigm shift away from a mechanistic and adversarial approach, to one of supportive and collaborative leadership, underpinned through the development of strong emotional intelligence, which is especially relevant when dealing with psychological injuries.”

Stop right there.

This was produced in 2011 and since that time life for injured NSW Officers has gone from pretty terrible to suicide watch.  Here are some examples of what is going on in NSW Police.

“He told me that every time he walked past him, he (Insp Lonergan) flicked him in the nuts,” Mr Kirk said.

http://www.news.com.au/…/n…/3c153abbc7620431b33463826f8c3e91

https://www.linkedin.com/in/matt-lonergan-2330b564

Say what again?

Oh it gets better.

A favourite amongst senior NSW Police seems to be what I’ve come to call “Australian Police Roulette”.  Senior Officer pulls out loaded gun and puts it to junior officers temple.  I’m not kidding.

“Gun to head also happened to me by my then boyfriend. He was hwp and weapons instructor. He was working, came to my house after a disagreement we had previously. Grabbed me around the throat, put his glock to my forehead and told me he had enough.

Obviously he didn’t pull the trigger. I reported it to our commander as worked out of same LAC they ended up transferring both of us. When asked where is the victim care, was told my friends could do the warm fuzzy stuff. When i was medically discharged 5 years ago, the police tried to deny this ever happened, no written record. Lucky for me it was recorded at the time with police psychologist.

I don’t wish for my name to be printed. I’ve struggled the past 8 years to get to the point I’m at now.”

This is no isolated incident!  I had to stop reading all the other reports of exactly this, one officer posted that he thought it might be part of Senior Officer Training at NSW Police College.

The litany of abuse, injustices, bullying, downright criminal never mind discreditable behaviour is shocking.

“At a certain LAC in the NSWPF, a problem developed with a particular Sgt who was treating the small team of staff they worked with atrociously which included bullying, harassment & other matters. The relevant commissioned officer responsible for supervising that Sgt took no action despite Internal Compliants by affected staff. Prior to me transferring to that area, 1 officer was medically put out of the NSWPF due to PTSD directly related to the Sgt, 2 other officers duty types changed so they did not have to work with the Sgt, & 1 other struggling to stay at work. Within 5 months of my working in that area, I was off with complex PTSD because of a number of factors but the same issues with the Sgt where the foremost reason for me. Within 6-7 months of my going off, the last 2 staff working with that Sgt also went off with PTSD & issues because of the Sgt.”  Nothing was done to protect these officers or future coppers unfortunate enough to land under his command.

So where is the Police Association in all this?  I love Mike McCormack (I mean who doesn’t love a pretty face like that?) but for a while I threw eggs at him because I didn’t know what TPA did for their members.  I didn’t know because TPA never tells anybody, but if you dig hard enough you can find out.  They send their Stewards on MH conferences, their Stewards are by the bedside of any officer who is suffering, they step in front of any trains coming at members, they fight tooth and nail (but quietly) for their members.  Even confident Commanders go very quiet and wary when a TPA Steward steps into their office.  YRP Association is one of the strongest and richest in Canada, they can take the fight right up YRP’s gentle and kind Chief’s left nostril, and they do when needed for their members.  So why are the NSW Police Association allowing such abuses of their members to continue?

“Sad thing with the Police Association of NSW is that the Commissioned are members as well…meaning in any serious incident between a rank and file member and a C.O then the Association is paralysed into no firm action against any C.O because of their “status” and a massive conflict of interest in having to serve 2 “masters “. As I understand the Vic Police Assoc. does not have this problem.”

Is this only a NSW Police problem as stated above?  Good grief no.  Australia in its entirety is killing and abusing coppers not just on the streets but in HQ.

“Sounds very much like my experience in Vic Pol. I had an accepted W/C claim for Bullying against a well known offender of a higher rank than me. Numerous others had complained about him, some had transferred, some quit. Big $ spent on investigations Etc. They removed him for 12mths only then back to his position as our boss. I was eventually retired. Others after me transferred. The then CCP said it was a personality clash. ( all 13 or more ? ) I was the victim and I payed the price. Keep on fighting the Bastards. Only difference is the Border!”

Not all cops in Australia have simply walked off into the bush and ended things as directed by their Commanding Officers who it would appear prefer a body bag to giving their fellow officers a helping hand; Berrick Boland fought back, starting a FaceBook Group called the Forgotten 300.  What happened to it?

“Bastards, took away The Forgotten 300 page, the only memorial to our father.”

 That from a daughter of an officer who committed suicide having been hounded by his NSW CO’s.  Injured and facing the “mechanical and adversarial” policy entrenched within NSW Police.
“NSW Police spokesperson admits to contacting Facebook to force The Forgotten 300 page to be removed.” https://t.co/PyS9dES6dn
Why did NSW Police force FaceBook Australia to remove the only support available to 60,000 officers and family members suffering from PTSD, under the dark shadow of suicide and without any support from their own Departments?  In addition to this Australian Police are not “allowed” to have personal TWITTER accounts.  So they can’t even join our #PTSDChat community to get anonymous support.

Finally I am going to leave it to an injured officer to summarize:

The “Forgotton 300” was another example of such an opportunity; A forum with international reach. I do not believe there is sufficient grounds to shut down a site with nearly 60,000 members. The Police Media Unit has set a concerning and fascist precedent. Ironically, I believe the actions of The NSW Police Media Unit, will ultimately raise greater awareness of the unsatisfactory way the NSW Government disposes of expired human resources.

This is important enough to be a National Issue. A publicly discussed and free parliamentary inquiry. I myself have several examples of cowardice by Commissioned Officers. At the top of my list is my Commander. I have never felt as much repulsion as hearing him say, “If you can’t hack it on the street anymore Chris, I can find you a nice desk job in Intelligence. If you choose to discharge, I can assure you it will be long, difficult and humiliating.”

Why is Australia killing her coppers?

Kate Gillie
Author

10 Comments

  1. Trevor Acheson Reply

    There are hundreds of stories.
    Mine is just one.
    Fear of the Police Service Ethical Standards and their attitude to do nothing to the perpetrators drives it underground because it’s ‘too ugly’ to share, and too confronting to deal with.
    Queensland Police are just as affected as the rest of the country.
    I survived physically .. That’s all, I still suffer but no one cares.
    I hope one day they start treating us like military veterans and compensate us and get us the help mentally and financially that we deserve.
    But I’m not holding my breath.
    Regards
    Ex Senior Constabke 15 year veteran
    Trevor Acheson

    • Kate Gillie

      Good lord. This makes my heart sick. I have a friend who I first met when Rebecca and I started #PTSDChat I haven’t heard from him for a while but he was the first to tell me about the awful abuse police suffer in Australia. I will do whatever I can to bring awareness to this issue, you have my absolute support – for whatever that is worth. Please if you would like to share your stories on PTSDChat.org you are most welcome. I can’t undo what was done, but we can say hey! thank you for what you did and we are here now. All the way from Canada.

    • Mark Battersby Reply

      Gday Mate,
      I did 15 in vic pol. Usual shafting due to PTSD.
      Only recently diagnosed after 20 years.

      Beleive me I understand all the usual bitter sentiments re no compo etc however that will not bring real healing. I have found a way or ways to bring about real healing drug free and able to lead a full and quality life. Would love to have the opportunity to help others. Call anytime on 0400 212 284

      • Kate Gillie

        Hey you two … if you guys were looking for a way to help … I want to see PTSDChat expanded into Australian time. If you’re interested, get in touch?

      • Kate Gillie

        Hi Mark – sorry I’ve been a bit buried but I haven’t forgotten you. We really need an Australian Support Director on the PTSDChat team. There is a huge need for it but we are all scrabbling to keep up as it is.

  2. Sharan Nicholson-Rogers Reply

    Thank you for your support! I am a police widow & it’s been 20yrs this year since my husband suicided after he fell to PTSD, he suffered bullying, was told he was a malingerer, was told he was putting it on to get out on a pension (he was pre 1988) & suffered lots more, in the end he resigned & months later he suicided!! It’s only now that we have social media I can finally reach out & stand together with ex police & or widows & families of loved ones lost to suicide & fight for change. Now they have taken down The Forgotten 300 page my late husband is once again shunned & not honoured, you see they refuse to honour him & others who have suicided on the National Police Memorial Wall, they instead put up a Secondary Wall hidden away indicative of the shame they still feel toward our fallen who suicide!! It is a disgrace our children & now grand children deserve to see their father/grandfather honoured to know he gave his all to the job!!! 🙁

    • Kate Gillie

      My heart hurts for you. Time is no healer, in fact the longer this has sat with you the heavier it will have become. Please share your story on PTSDChat.org We will send you a log-in and have at it. We want to help you bring awareness to this epidemic of abuse in Australian Policing.

  3. Janet Hill Reply

    Hi Kate,
    Just wanted to say I was astounded by your article.
    I lost my only son, 26 year old NSW Police Officer, Morgan Hill, in 2009, to suicide.
    Are you Aistralian based or USA?
    We’ve been trying to raise awareness for years.
    Thank you so much!
    Janet & Barry Hill

    • Kate Gillie

      No I’m in Canada. I am so sorry for your loss. If you’d like to share your story on PTSDChat.org we would welcome your input and will do our best to highlight it. Let me know and will send you log-ins. It was a death that should not have occurred and like all the other officers who die from PTSD it is avoidable. We need to do a better job than we are for our First Responders and Veterans. My heart to yours. xx Kate

      • Kate Gillie

        Perhaps consider doing a #PTSDChat on Losing a Son to PTSD and the Abuse he Faced in NSW Police Service? I will be there by your side the whole way, as will Rebecca.

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