###Insult to Injury
Monday 1 August at 8.30pm
Insult to Injury: How the system damages cops with PTSD
“I’ve gone from being a high ranking commissioned officer in a police force to basically being treated like a criminal.” Greg, former police officer
Across Australia the number of police suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is growing, damaged by the extreme situations they’re repeatedly exposed to. And untreated, they can be a danger not only to themselves but others.
“If you’re a cop with a gun on your hip walking round the streets full of that much anger, it’s just not safe.” Greg, former police officer
But when they put their hand up for help, many of these police officers are being subjected to humiliating and harmful practices employed by insurers.
“Here I was trying to get my health back, mental, physical, everything, keep my family together, and all they were doing was tearing it apart.” Greg, former police officer
Claims for compensation and psychiatric treatment are being met with scepticism, resistance and lengthy delays.
“I just can’t fathom why anybody would want to treat anybody like that. It’s madness!” Father of former police officer
And insurers are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid payouts.
“They’re about saving money and about profits. And I think that potentially drives what I would see as being unethical behaviour.” Psychiatrist
Four Corners has spoken to police around the country who have been spied on, their privacy invaded on an astonishing scale, with both physical and electronic surveillance.
“To learn that for 80 hours some guy in a car with a camera followed me around and took photos of me, followed my wife, took pictures of my kids at the beach, is absolutely humiliating.” Greg, former police officer
“It can happen at any day at any time. We’ve recently had a car sitting out the front taking photographs… We have cameras around our house. We have six foot walls to try and keep some privacy but still they persist.” Wife of former police officer
For these police, the aggressive tactics exacerbate their mental illness, sometimes with awful consequences.
“What I won’t accept is how the insurance companies drove me to a sense of no hope.” Brendon, former police officer
And psychiatrists are calling on insurers to change their approach.
“These organisations see this as simply a problem of compensation. This is not just a problem of compensation. It’s about how humankind can only tolerate so much reality.” Psychiatrist
Insult to Injury, reported by Quentin McDermott and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 1st of August at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 2nd August at 10am and Wednesday 3rd at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.