We are receiving more and more gut-wrenching stories and emails from both NSW and VIC police officers who are being ill-treated both by the “force” and, yep, by their workers comp insurer aka as Metlife…and wonder what the hell is going on?!! Bullying within the police force appears rife and on the increase, and once a police officer is injured – whether physically or psychologically- their nightmares truly begin.
What the ef is going on within the police force and with Metlife?
A police officer’s story
We are both police officers in the NSWPF or in my wife’s case to be medically discharged next [day/week/month] with not even a hand shake.
I am back at work because it is the only way we can survive without losing everything we have worked so hard to achieve but it is taking its toll and I don’t tell my wife as I don’t want to add anymore pressure that what she is already under.
I go to work with great fear of senior officers and fear of being screwed over and it isn’t making my depression and anxiety disorders which the organisation has caused me by giving me no support for doing the right thing and reporting police corruption.
It is coming to the point that I don’t want to wake up and deal with these feelings any more but can let my wife and (children) down and put them through trauma for the rest of there lives.
I have read some many stories on this site and only feel pain for all these people and I have to ask myself why I ever joined the police to help others because apart from the few good ones like on this site (victims) and victims of crimes who I have worked with for so many years watching the disappointment in there faces when the courts let them down …
As mentioned in my last email I sent my wife broke her back and (other body part) after falling [place/manner] while at work. Now I only see a shadow of the woman I fell in love with and feel helpless not only with my predicament but see her in major pain every day to the point she cries and I can’t do a thing about it.
As a husband, Father and man I feel its my responsibility to protect them, provide for them and give them a safe and happy home and at the moment I can barely keep myself together which makes me feel very weak. Since my return to work in [month][ it has been nothing but a nightmare to the point that I was not a smoker and now smoke two packets of smokes a week just to help keep control of my anxiety because the medication isn’t working.
I never thought I would ever see myself in this situation and feel shit house for even talking about it because I have always been of the believe that there is always someone in the world worse off and not to complain. But my pot is full and overflowing and at the point I feel I can’t talk to anyone and this seems the only way I can release some of this very heavy pain going on inside me. I see specialists and they are good to a point but they don’t understand what you are going through and the only people I find that do are ones going through the same issues.
Once again thanks for putting together a great website it helps so many including myself and I have forwarded your site information onto so many other police and friends just like me who just need to see others who are experiencing the same pain and somehow makes you feel like your not on your own. All the advice, guidance and packages are very useful and without your site it would be very hard to obtain this information as I have know doubt the insurance companies and government agencies like the one I work for would do everything in their power to remove any information that might just help us get a small amount of justice so we don’t loose everything.
Police Officer X
Former cops say surveillance from insurer MetLife is compounding their PTSD
Former police officers suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) say excessive surveillance by an insurance company is making their trauma worse.
For months on end, former police sergeant Peter Klein has been subjected to endless hours of video surveillance by insurance company MetLife, which is assessing his claim for PTSD. (See video)
“It’s massively intimidating,” he says.
“They’ve been up my driveway. They’ve sat out there. There’s footage of me at my letterbox. It’s very ominous-looking. To have surveillance logs or surveillance video induces a massive amount of guilt and trepidation in me.”
Mr Klein’s policing career started like a boy’s own adventure. Commencing with Tasmania Police in 1994, he transferred to New South Wales in 1998.
His favourite job was working in the force’s air wing division, where he conducted dramatic rescues hanging from a helicopter winch.
A lot of your job predominantly was picking up people’s shattered remains that had committed suicide off The Gap.
During his time on the job, his mental health became eroded by daily exposure to death and tragedy, but it is what has happened since that has compounded his pain.
To escape the constant scrutiny of surveillance, he made his home a fortress, hanging blankets at some windows and taping others up with tin foil.
The irony is not lost on him that as a police officer he used to watch criminals do the very same thing.
“It made me feel perhaps I’m losing my mind; you know, I’m sticking tin-foil up in my own home trying to stop people I don’t even know looking through my window,” he said.
Cop shattered by exposure to human tragedy at suicide hotspot
Mr Klein spent many grisly hours at The Gap, a dramatic cliff face off Sydney’s Watson’s Bay.
“A lot of your job predominantly was picking up people’s shattered remains that had committed suicide off The Gap,” he said.
“I’ve had to chase crows that’ve picked up a bit of skull and ear from the shattered remains of a suicide victim.
“[I’d] wonder whether or not I’d get in more trouble for trying to get the ear back for the Coroner by discharging my firearm out towards the crow, out towards the headland.
“I just got to a point where enough human tragedy was enough for me.”
Mr Klein’s psychiatrist has recommended he go to the cliff as part of his recovery, but his return was enormously difficult and he could not stay long.
Insurer’s surveillance accused of hampering recovery
For the 18 months since he put in his insurance claim, Mr Klein has been paid under $400 a week by the insurance company.
“Forty-one years of age, having your friends and family pay for simple things like food after you’ve worked two or three jobs, never took a day off that you didn’t really need, did everything to build your life,” he said.
“In the last two years I’ve lost my job, my career, my marriage.”
But his attempt at recovery have been stymied by surveillance and delay by MetLife, the police force’s former insurer.
Mr Klein says MetLife “simply wants him to give up”.
“Why am I still being watched? Why is this still going on? Because to me, surveillance means you’re up to no good.”
Another former cop haunted by visions of the dead
Former senior constable Andy Peverill knows all about surveillance too: for six months this year, he has been endlessly watched outside his Parkes property by video surveillance operatives.
Mr Peverill’s wife, Michelle, showed 7.30 one of the nine DVDs of surveillance they have obtained from MetLife.
Investigators film the couple every time they leave the house.
The simplest way to tell people is just tell them I see dead people. The people I see… they were living. But they won’t go away. They just keep coming back.Andy Peverill
“He has to come with me; he can’t be left on his own,” said Ms Peverill.
“The last time I left him on his own, he cut half of his hair off because he got extremely anxious. And then another time I left him on his own, he started a grassfire without supervision.”
Mr Peverill worked for 10 years at the Parkes police station on general duties.
“When I signed up, I never signed up to get PTSD. I signed up to make a difference. To do a good job,” he said.
“The simplest way to tell people is just tell them I see dead people. The people I see… they were living. But they won’t go away. They just keep coming back.
“They’re back now.”
Mr Peverill’s duties included having to count limbs after traffic accidents, trying and failing to rescue teenagers from a burning car, and giving CPR to a friend’s brother who had hanged himself and who then died in his arms.
One day, he simply could not go to work any more.
Something triggered him with his uniform and he just lost the plot and I said ‘What’s the matter?’ and he just said ‘I’m not doing it any more. Don’t make me do it’Michelle Peverill
“And on that last morning I think he just stepped out of his brain,” Ms Peverill said.
“Something triggered him with his uniform and he just lost the plot and I said ‘What’s the matter?’ and he just said ‘I’m not doing it any more. Don’t make me do it’.
Mr Peverill’s desperation reached a limit one day when his wife found him in the shed.
“And I said ‘Well what are you doing?’ because he was just standing there aimlessly and he said ‘I was just thinking whether or not I would hang myself or I’d connect a hosepipe up to the car’,” Ms Peverill said.
Minute’s silence for those who’ve taken their lives
MetLife lost the contract for NSW Police death and disability insurance last year.
The officers believe the reason claims are being dragged out is because MetLife has lost the income stream but still carries the obligation to pay injured police.
Mr Peverill and Mr Klein are just two of a group of former police who call themselves the Forgotten 300.
They say their claims have been delayed by successive insurers of the NSW Force.
This week, the officers invited 7.30 to film a minute’s silence for colleagues who have taken their lives.
New South Wales Greens MP David Shoebridge represented many injured police in his former life as a barrister.
“Even the most legitimate claims, they will take on appeal to the Court of Appeal, on appeal to the High Court to avoid making a fair payment to injured police.
“And that fighting of the claims further aggravates an often awkward and difficult psychological injury in the first place. They’re injured on the job and then they’re injured again through the claims process.”
Psychiatrist says surveillance is “grossly unfair”
Mr Klein’s psychiatrist, Dr Hugh Morgan, says the surveillance is “dehumanising” and “humiliating”.
“It’s a really horrible process and I think it’s grossly, grossly unfair,” he said.
“I can understand that an insurance company would want to make sure that a claim was valid but I think that the surveillance that has been occurring with my patient has just been relentless.
“And it has gone on and on and on and I can only see that this is like harassment.
“And of course what this has done has made Peter completely kind of overwhelmed, fearful, frightened about getting out and doing the things that would actually help in his recovery.”
Despite numerous approaches by 7.30, neither the Police Commissioner nor MetLife would talk to the ABC.
In a statement, police said: “NSW Police is aware of the delays in MetLife’s determination… and the methods used in assessing those claims.
“The force is disappointed with the delays… and is concerned at the impact on [former officers’] ongoing treatment and recovery. The force has voiced its concerns about the delays.”
MetLife says it has introduced a number of new initiatives, such as putting on more staff in effort to speed up what it calls incredibly complex claims. But it defends its use of surveillance as “industry standard”.