One of the heroes of the Cronulla riots has backed calls for more humane treatment of police suffering from post traumatic stress.
Craig Campbell’s actions were beamed across the world when he saved two dark-skinned men from a racist mob on a train in December 2005.
But now the former police sergeant is living with post traumatic stress and is living with a mate in Dapto on $400 a week after losing his career, his home and his marriage.
“I am just trying to rebuild my life as best I can,” he said.
He claims that 27 police in NSW suffering post traumatic stress have killed themselves since 2007 and has called for an overhaul of the system.
His comments come after another former police officer, Esther McKay, called for the issue of police killing themselves to be brought out into the open.
“It’s better to talk about suicide. Each case is a tragedy and we need to learn from it,” she said.
“If we don’t find out why this occurred, we can’t do more to stop it happening again.”
“The former forensic detective, who now lives in Bowral, founded a support group in 2005 for police suffering from post traumatic stress, after experiencing little support herself.”
She said police on stress leave were routinely followed by private detectives and their claims often took years to process, in which time they were not allowed to perform any kind of work.
“These police are already psychologically damaged anyway, so if they feel that someone is following them, it just makes them really paranoid,” she said.
“It really makes them ill to the point where some of them have suicided because they are so distressed at not being believed.”
She called for an end to the situation where many claims were routinely denied and said police deserved the right to leave the force with dignity.
“I don’t see why a legitimate claims need to be put through this really horrible, traumatic system for the sake of a couple of ones that are not legitimate,” she said.
This article first appeared on ‘ABC News’ on 18 November 2013.