The Times They Are A Changed

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Apologies to Mr Dylan.

Those of you who read my posts regularly will note that this one is a tad different to the norm.

Unless it relates to wrong-doing or corruption etc I almost always support the Police.

On this occasion I don’t feel that I can, but many of you might disagree with me, and that’s fine.

I have mulled this one over for a few days now and still can’t find a reason to support it.

My attention was tweaked by one of several similar headlines in the press

Met Police officers sue force over ‘trauma’ suffered at Grenfell

Around 33 Metropolitan Police officers are seeking compensation for “psychiatric injuries” suffered in the Grenfell Tower disaster.

A total of 27 serving and six former officers are pursuing civil claims against 12 parties including the Met Commissioner, the chief of London Fire Brigade and Kensington and Chelsea Council.

Those of you who know me would probably a bit ‘old school’ in my views and experiences around Policing.

I have no idea about the specific circumstances of any of the 33 officers or their claims, but generally speaking I’m uncomfortable with them.  I can only imagine how anybody present at Grenfell felt.

I’m not looking for sympathy, but I’ve got over my demons I believe.  I can’t say that I ever experienced a Grenfell, but almost all encountered something similar in our service, and the Met wasn’t exactly excellent at supporting that, but at least they tried.  They had the own fully staffed and equiopped Nursing Home at Hendon where those suffering from what we now know as PTSD could be rested and treated.  That facility has now gone forever, a victim of the Conservative #Austerity cuts.

One thing that we never considered was suing anybody. Absoloutely nobody at all, it was never even mentioned.

A good friend of mine was sent to Lockerbie as part of the Body Recovery Team.  He had always been a cheery, friendly, outgoing sort of officer, highly conscientious. He couldn’t cope with what he had seen there and sadly took his own life some years later.

His family never even considered suing the Met, nor was it ever suggested by his former colleagues.

In the main we just got on with it, and this is where ‘Canteen Culture’ and ‘Dark Humour’ are so important.  They are/were both vital factors in being able to stay ‘normal’.  Not perfect by any means, but vitally important.

Cynically this all seems to have come about after it was announced that 114 firefighters involved in a similar legal action had received a £20million settlement, equivalent to £175,000 each.

What I don’t understand or agree with is ‘Why sue the Met’?  It’s hardly the Met’s fault.  Sadly it was probably necessary to send a large number of officers to the scene very quickly. The officers were doing their job, and very well I would suggest.

I was once told by a Senior Officer “we don’t pay you for what you do, we pay you for what you might have to do”  I lived with that for the rest of my service, and never dreamt of suing the Met for any adverse incidents.  Had the officers attempted to sue the contractors who installed the defective cladding, or agreed the spec, then I could understand that, but the Met is at risk of maybe paying out £Millions, but why sue the Met, and why now, nearly 7 years later?

One thing is for certain, times have certainly changed.


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5 thoughts on “The Times They Are A Changed”

  1. As a retired officer I dealt with many incidents that were mentally difficult to at times deal with and developed a coping mechanism through black humour that only those that have been through similar will understand. I suspect it is a new generation of officers who have little real life experience (I was ex services) and are essentially snowflakes easily offended and upset. The thought of sueing anyone for what I experienced in my career never entered my head but perhaps like making reparations for long ago events like slavery perhaps we should do a class action for all the trauma we were exposed to….
    I better apologise for using the word black as I suspect it’s in this day and age going to offend someone

  2. I agree as well. There are officers on this site and others who, if they sued the job for every traumatic incident they attended, would be millionaires. The author is so right about dark humour and canteen culture, or pub culture, that really helps, where you find out that it’s not just you who feels a certain way. Having said all that the job has a long way to go when it comes to offering and supplying professional help to officers who really need it. All of the emergency services have to deal with the accumulative effect of going from one traumatic incident to another without any time to decompress between. But I think the police are unique in the sense that it’s not only the immediate incident they deal with but the aftermath as well, whether that be informing families and friends of victims, court cases and accused if the result of criminal actions. They are also far more likely to be the victim of said criminal action. Call me a cynic, because I am, but I feel the job would rather pay out the odd compensation claim than employ permanent mental health professionals because it’s cheaper. 🙄

    1. Thank you, I just can’t get my head around the desire to sue. Many people lost their lives at Grenfell, how many times did we deal with a Fatacc or a messy SudDeath? Never once considered suing anybody

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