I have only just started on my journey to recovery which will no doubt be a long process with various what I call “blips” on the way.
Becoming ill can happen to anyone but it is a concern when a police force which is their to protect and serve can abuse their powers in such a way that can result in both their own colleagues and members of the public who are victims of crime to consider taking their own lives.
Since starting this blog, I have been contacted by members of the public who have recounted their own stories and struggles to seek justice.
It is not just police officers who are responsible in a police force but also civilian staff who have power to frustrate legitimate requests from members of the public and can range from departments who deal with subject access requests to in-house legal departments.
Their roles are essentially to protect the reputation of the force but more often than not draw more attention to their force in their attempts to cover up, I refer to this as internally networked corruption.
In private business, if individuals acted in the same way they would lose their job and the company may also lose valuable business.
To some extent such behaviour is encouraged by the lack of accountability of the police which; in recent times has been made less accountable by changes in the complaint’s system where the right to appeal to the Independent Police Complant’s Commission (IPCC) has been severely restricted.
What is not generally known is that police officers are not considered members of the public and as such do not have a right of appeal to the IPCC. This is not logical because a police officer must be a member of the public or a citizen before they can become a police officer however; it suits the IPCC to interpret the Police Reform Act in this way.
From my experience of dealing with the IPCC, I have not found them to be independent and have found that their failures encourage corruption within the police service.
So in a nutshell, each and every person or organisation that I may choose to identify has played a part in the deterioration in the health and welfare of myself, my wife, colleagues and members of the public.
Who are we?
My wife and I are regular people, I was brought up in the east end of London and my wife worked as a staff nurse at the Whittington hospital when we first met.
My wife’s family including her father were all police officers and we had a great respect for the police service.
I spent the majority of my service in the CID and was fortunate to have served in Specialist Operations at New Scotland Yard and travelled abroad frequently.
In terms of mental health and fitness I was fortunate to have had may outside interests with an adventurous side where I served several years in the Royal Marines Reserve, enjoyed sailing and took part regularly in endurance desert events around the world; the last before transferring to Hampshire was the Marathon Des Sables, a a six-day, 251 km ultramarathon, which is approximately the distance of six regular marathons. The longest single stage is 91 km long. This multiday race is held every year in southern Morocco, in the Sahara Desert.
I would also assist the Sea and Marine Cadets when called upon as I felt I owed them a debt keeping me out of trouble when I was a youngster and introducing me to the joys of sailing, adventurous training etc, I wanted to motivate other youngsters and give them the same chances.
I also had a hobby as a close up magician which kept the grey cells working in coming up with new routines.
When I transferred to Hampshire police I also utilised my power boating skills and experience by becoming a member of the inshore lifeboat.
The reason that I mention all the above is that from being that person, I virtually became unrecognisable, put on a considerable amount of weight and stopped doing everything overnight as a result of our treatment by senior officers in Hampshire Constabulary and the PSD whic I attribute to having reported corruption directly to the head of the Professional Standards Department.
I broke the blue code of silence.
I got to a stage where I could not speak, could not have eye contact with anyone and sat in an armchair just staring at the wall.
My wife’s way of dealing with things at present is to simply block out what happened.
At the time my wife would hide under her duvet in bed which was the only place she felt safe and she would not answer the door.
I was fortunate to have a good GP on the Isle of Wight and a clinical Psychologist in Southsea who I paid privately for however; all the good the work they did was often undone by the continuing victimisation of the force.
The arrogance and bullying of a Deputy Chief Constable at the time was such that they threatened my GP in a statement for making suggestions regarding reasonable adjustments following an incident. I was ill at home and was threatened by former Deputy Chief Constable Ian Readhead who attended my home having been advised not to do so.
I have had no help or support from Hampshire Police Federation who appeared to be working for the benefit of themselves and the force rather than their members.
I don’t believe this situation is exclusive to Hampshire and appears to be standard practice in many forces.
The practice appears to make some as ill as possible so that they cave in, become labelled as having mental health problems, perhaps take their own life as a worst case scenario or perhaps a best case scenario for the force.
I was to discover that any help and assistance that was available did not apply to police whistleblowers and so this page may hopefully assist others who find themselves in a similar situation and may also assist me by hearing from others who have found their own ways of coping.
A former colleague I worked with in the Met has started his own blog which may also be of interest to other called mind Mainstream
That’s enough for this post today and good mental health everyone.