Case study: GMP - permanently disabled

PC Damian Malone

PC Damian Malone from Greater Manchester Police with his assistance dog

PC Damian Malone was left with a permanent disability and faced being paralysed, after arresting a 73 year old mother’s alcoholic son who had just attacked her.

The Greater Manchester Police officer slipped two discs whilst arresting the offender. Two years later his condition had deteriorated and he was losing sensation in his feet and legs.

A scan revealed two discs had burst and were compressing his spinal root nerve. PC Malone was in danger of becoming paralysed.

He underwent a discectomy in 2009 and a Spinal Cord Stimulator device was implanted in 2015. “My children call me RoboCop,” he said.

He has been partnered with a Labrador Retriever assistance dog from the Hounds for Heroes charity. This has transformed PC Malone’s life: “Trooper helps me to stay physically active and is trained to pick up items and open doors. He can also fetch my pills and a blanket, and get help from a friend if required”.

PC Malone now works in the GMP Force Crime Audit Team. He is often mistaken for being blind because of his assistance dog and feels that awareness and understanding from colleagues towards disabled officers is imperative. He believes in greater emphasis on operational risk assessments and tougher sentencing to deter offenders from assaulting police officers.

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