Nick was very young in service when he was involved in an on-duty RTC. He received what, at the time, was pioneering treatment for broken bones in his hands culminating in a silastic implant in his wrist. For the next twenty years the injury gave him little trouble and he was able to continue his policing career unhindered.
Then one day he responded to reports of a suicidal man on a bridge. In trying to save him, Nick damaged his hand irreparably. The operation that followed fused his wrist totally, permanently reducing his movement. As a consequence he is in constant and debilitating pain with extensive nerve damage (complex regional pain syndrome).
Nick was medically retired just six months prior to completing thirty years’ police service. While he says he understands the decision, he now feels let down.
“It was the view at the time that if you couldn’t do the job as defined as an ordinary police constable because of disability you had to be discharged. Those were the regulations at the time and I fully understood that.”
“I knew I was disabled. I knew I had problems doing what I was doing, and it was affecting me at work.”
Nick continued: “While I was serving, the police looked after me extremely well. Since I’ve left, the police have been found wanting.”
Nick’s pension has been reduced once and further reduction three years later was unsuccessful. He believes there are many officers who, like him, feel they’re a financial liability when they retire and don’t know where to go to get the help they need, whether that’s emotional, physical or financial support.
“The one thing I would like to see strengthened is that when police officers have been injured, have been medically discharged, they’re not just then forgotten about,” Nick explained. “And this is where this is where Police Care really does fill a void.”
Police Care UK helped Nick with the cost of a stay at Flint House, the police rehabilitation centre. He received intensive physiotherapy and related treatments from a specialist which brought him temporary relief from the debilitating pain he lives with.
“Because of the way I’ve been looked after by Police Care I wanted to do something… and put something back.”
Nick is one of Police Care UK’s Support Volunteers. He is a point of contact for the people the charity cares for, checking to see that they’re ok and helping them to access support.
“There is a huge danger that police officers who have been retired on ill-health grounds are just forgotten about so that’s where hopefully I can give some help.”