Case study: Cleveland - stabbed with a screwdriver
Cleveland PC Jeff Lillystone lost his mental well-being and his marriage after he was stabbed repeatedly by a car thief armed with a screwdriver.
It happened in 1998 when he had been a police for only 18 months. He confronted an intoxicated young man who was at the wheel of a stolen vehicle. There was a screwdriver jammed into the ignition which the suspect then used to attack PC Lillystone, before fleeing on foot.
Bleeding and with his radio damaged, the officer gave chase and endured a tense stand-off with the suspect and an accomplice. He said: “It was in the days before body armour and felt particularly dangerous.” Finally back-up came and the pair was arrested.
PC Lillystone later developed post traumatic stress. His behaviour changed and he became short tempered, unpredictable and over protective of his family. His marriage broke down and he went on long term sick leave. The turning point came when he met a new partner and returned to work on phased introduction. Today PC Lillystone advises other officers going through stress to seek help.
Today he feels strongly that mental health check-ups should be compulsory for police officers.
He said: “Every 3-4 months somebody from outside the service should check how officers are coping. At the moment officers are living with massive levels of stress and they aren’t talking about it.”
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