The brave police officer has come out to reveal how he nearly reached his elastic limit after being haunted by the trauma of a murder scene.
PC Ian Buckman suffered from an undiagnosed post traumatic stress (PTSD) for many years before deciding to get some help from Sussex UK police for his mental health. He said he used to have flashbacks from the incident that would usually playback in his mind, which affected his family life.
During an interview with Channel 5 News, the police officer for over 13 years described how he had to take two months away from work to recover earlier this year.
The TV broadcaster also revealed that the number of mental health issues among officers has risen by over 60 per cent in the past few years.
Mr Buckman told the broadcaster: “I started experiencing flashbacks, which felt like a video replay on a constant loop. “It was through the chaos of the scene I was involved in, it wasn’t the bloodshed or the visual horror of the scene, it was the noise, and the chaos of it.
“I didn’t tell anyone I was having flashbacks, not even anyone at home. I was not really there in my head, it affected my work and my mood.
“It definitely took a toll on family life, I became quite moody, quite snappy, tired, irritable and taking it out on the wrong people including my wife, my daughter and my parents.
“At Christmas last year I reached my breaking point before I did anything about it. “Between that Christmas and New Year time the flashbacks had just become so bad, I was having no sleep, eventually I did speak to a colleague.”
The officer took two months off work, went for counselling and is now back to full duties after a slow return.
A conducted Research by Channel 5 News revealed that the number of days missed by officers across the country rose by 69.4 per cent between 2013 to 2014 and 2018 to 2019.
It meant forces were having to cope with more officers on sick days.
The figures show there were 390,608 sick leave days for mental health issues last year, compared with 230,631 five years earlier. But Buckman said work is being done to improve the help on offer to officers.
Sussex Police has the Backup Buddy UK application which helps officers find the right help for their mental health needs.
The PC returned to work after two months away. He said: “It has become easier, a lot of work has been done… the work that’s been done around Backup Buddy UK has assisted in breaking down those barriers
“There’s more demand for officers to be single crewed, which puts an additional pressure on people. Assaults on police seem to be ever increasing, I’ve been assaulted myself twice in the last four months.”
Sussex Police said: “As an organisation we are aware how demanding a role in the police force can be and our officers are frequently asked to put themselves in situations. “In recent years we have introduced a significant number of schemes and support mechanisms so our officers and staff can get the support and guidance they need.”
William Kellogg is a veteran writer who’s covered the subject of the intersection of technology, health and mental wellness for nearly two decades.