NSW Police call for inquiry into treatment of former police

inquiry

aworkcovervictimsdiary received the following important message from Injured Police Officers Of NSW:
NSW Police suffer at the hands of the insurer daily. These officers are pushing for an inquiry.The community is encouraged to report bullying to the Police. Who do police report this to?

NSW Workcover is the regulator which is rife with bullying itself?

Regards
Injured Police Officers Of NSW

A Group of police officers discharged from NSW Police after suffering post-traumatic stress want an inquiry into bullying and harassment in the force.

Source, The Daily Telegraph  – Officers discharged from NSW Police call for inquiry

The disgruntled officers have banded together in support after all were discharged as medically unfit within the past few years.

They have also been backed by former assistant police commissioner Mark Goodwin.

The officers claim bullying and harassment are endemic in the ranks, particularly in relation to officers regarded as “whistleblowers”.

Karol Blackley, who was discharged from her $130,000-a-year role as a senior detective at Surry Hills last November, said she wasn’t provided with mental support after working on several traumatic cases, which included the 2006 murder of Barry Corbett, who was stabbed 30 times and had his penis chopped off and shoved in a bedside drawer by his girlfriend’s ex-husband Gabor Ziha.

Despite repeatedly complaining to her superiors that she was sick and couldn’t cope, Ms Blackley claims she was pressured to keep working, eventually suffering a nervous breakdown that landed her in a mental ward.

Colleague Michelle Portlock was discharged at the end of 2011, three years after suffering her first break-down on the side of a road in 2008. John Manton, Karol Blackley and Michelle Portlock are all former NSW Police employees. Source:News Limited

Thousands miss out on post traumatic stress disorder treatment

Former Miranda Police detective John Manton claims he suffered 14 years of harassment and bullying in the force after “blowing the whistle” on an ex-colleague he accused of corrupt activity.

Mr Goodwin, who himself took stress leave and was medically discharged after being criticised in the official report into the Cronulla riots, says many officers are being subjected to long delays in having their claims processed and are put under surveillance by the underwriter of NSW Police insurance claims, Metlife, all of which compounds their medical problems.

“They are genuinely sick people and internally (in the police), they’re probably treated quite wrongly as whingers and possibly bludging or rorting the system, whereas that is – in the greatest majority of cases – not true,” he says.

The Police Association of NSW is working with cops and the trustees of the insurance provider to make sure they deal with the backlog of claims in a way that’s compassionate to the injured cops.

A NSW Police spokesman denied claims of inadequate support for staff suffering mental illness, pointing to a number of programs within the organisation designed to do exactly that.

Bullying culture could run deep at WorkCover

If a bullied employee didn’t report the bullying, does it mean there isn’t a problem?

A parliamentary inquiry into allegations of bullying at WorkCover NSW – the watchdog responsible for workplace safety, including bullying complaints, across all NSW employers – has heard the most common approaches to dealing with an outbreak of bullying don’t work.

”Wellness” programs, which focus on an individual’s resilience, and dispute resolution are like handing out safety equipment, when what really needs to be tackled is the danger that organisation’s culture poses to the health of its staff, experts said.

”Get rid of the asbestos, don’t just give everyone a dust mask,” said University of NSW senior lecturer Dr Carlo Caponecchia last week. He also warned that hotlines, injury claims and staff morale surveys weren’t accurate measures.

Allegations of bullying inside WorkCover aren’t new. A PricewaterhouseCoopers investigation was ordered by the previous Labor government and came up with a raft of recommendations.

Yet in June, the industrial court again found that a senior employee at WorkCover had been bullied out of his job, in a case that had ”the characterisation of institutional bullying”. The parliamentary inquiry was called.

WorkCover, which will give evidence on Monday, boasts in its latest annual report that only five staff called its Bullying Response Service last year. The inference is that bullying is not widespread.

But witnesses at the inquiry gave another reason for so few calls to the hotline – staff who did call were subsequently exposed to their managers.

Jann Jeffries, an industrial officer with the Public Service Association, told politicians ”harm” had come to union members who used the service.

Bullying victims had their privacy breached when invoices for the service, identifying the callers, were sent to managers. In other cases, staff who had called the hotline in confidence were later challenged about the content of those conversations by the managers they had complained about.

Over the past two years, WorkCover has paid out more than $1 million in workers compensation claims to its own staff. Injury claims halved last year to 22, as psychological injury claims dropped by 84 per cent to four, and there were just two explicit ”bullying” claims (down from 11). Problem solved?

Caponecchia says a bullying reporting system needs to be safe to use, ”so that people don’t feel that in reporting a problem there is going to be ‘payback’.”

Multiple submissions to the inquiry by serving and former WorkCover staff, in administrative, legal and medical roles, have described a ”toxic and unsafe work environment with a broken culture”.

One wrote: ”Staff have become so disillusioned that those who are bullied don’t bother to complete the survey.”

”Reports of bullying being reported are rare,” wrote a lawyer. This is because reporting it would only worsen an individual’s problem, he said.

”We desperately need someone to regulate the regulator,” wrote another WorkCover employee.

The inquiry heard WorkCover’s internal problem with bullying meant it was ill-equipped to deal with bullying as an injury issue in the broader workforce.

One woman, a solicitor who had received a psychological injury in a private workplace and then had an insurance issue, said: ”Complaining to WorkCover is traumatic.”

”I was at the point where [the WorkCover employee] could hear that someone was contemplating suicide at the other end of the phone and he did not back down,” she said, in tears.

A survey of bullying across all NSW government departments by the Public Service Commission in 2012, released under freedom-of-information laws, showed seven of the top 10 most bullied agencies were local health districts. In the worst case, three-quarters of staff in the Central Coast health district had witnessed bullying.

A later survey conducted by NSW Health in March found only 42 per cent of staff statewide had confidence in processes for resolving staff conflict. Half had been verbally abused in the past year.

Employees who have written to Fairfax Media suggest the situation is worse than the survey results indicate – they point out only a third of staff actually responded to the survey. In some districts, the response rate was as low as 17 per cent.

 



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8 Responses to “NSW Police call for inquiry into treatment of former police”

  1. Workcover should not be a privatised organisation.

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  2. Nigel, that is what these governments want. They take their ideas from the Tories in Britain where effectively there is now no Workers Comp. The sneaky way they are doing it here is to offer income protection insurance or using your superannuation protection for illness. This is basically a decline in wages as the expectation is that workers will pay for their own coverage for injury and watch the premiums skyrocket when this new system is at full steam. David Cameron (UK Prime Minister) said that his new year’s resolution was to “kill off the health and safety culture for good”. Police, Firemen, Ambos, paramedics will not be protected by the old legislation in NSW as they will be forced to go onto the privatised system. I despair of what younger workers will have to face in their working lives and I hope they fight to make changes. Just have to wait and see.

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  3. Post-traumatic stress linked to high police suicide

    One of the heroes of the Cronulla riots has backed calls for more humane treatment of police suffering from post traumatic stress.

    Source ABC News – Calls for more support for stressed police

    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.

    “It’s cost me everything that I have ever worked for since I was 14.”

    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.

    Read here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-18/police-trauma/5098034

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    workcovervictim3 November 20, 2013 at 8:36 am
    • Cops with PTSD. are being sent back to work full of medication to maintain a normal life, who will get hurt when one of these officers loose control and go overboard or kill someone.
      Who will responsible Barry O’Farrell that is who.

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      • @Wombat

        Shit for brains O’Farrell and his corrupt and compassion blind bunch of narrow minded, short sighted and incompetent cronies would be morally responsible.

        You watch the low life politicians and the police hierarchy dump bucket loads on their own to protect the illusion of good management and so called good government (what a joke).

        Look at how whistle-blowers are treated – the same way as a long term injured workers – treated like shit!l

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  4. Fu yep your right and people who aren’t affected have no idea they think the man’s brilliant

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  5. I agree with Fu they are all corrupt and they don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves. All they are doing is protecting their cushy jobs so they are given a huge pay at the taxpayers expense when they retire.

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