28th March 2021
Not surprisingly, there has been some disquiet concerning the assertions we have and will continue to make in this series.
Therefore, it is appropriate that we reiterate that we do not challenge the affliction suffered by many called PTSD, nor do we challenge the orthodoxy of the clinical approaches. However, we do present a view based not on theoretical knowledge but on lived experiences and management expertise of former Police within the CAA, which could reduce the severity and frequency of this Disorder.
Understanding the Occupational Stress (OS) aspect of PTSD exposes the multitude of issues that spawn it. It can result from superiors who lack empathy and understanding of the consequences of their actions; it can equally be driven by workplace dysfunction; the member just cannot fit in. It may be as simple as normal group dynamics and nothing more sinister than that but escape for the victim is fraught with difficulty.
Workplace dysfunction would be the easiest to deal with by the member themselves, transfer to another workplace. Still, under current appointment arrangements, they find it near impossible to move workplaces without exposing the reasons their current position has become untenable.
The members are then faced with the choice of tolerating an intolerable situation or committing private and confidential material to ‘on the record’ and running the risk of it being exposed.
Inevitably many will just ‘suck it up’ and put up with their lot. In many cases, this is actually the genesis of OSD and will ultimately lead to a manifestation of PTSD that could well be career-ending. All because a member could not change workplaces, move sideways.
If a police member chooses not to make an issue public, irrespective of other factors, the member’s privacy must be respected. However, if they choose to transfer to solve their problems, they should be entitled to do so without an exposé, provided a vacancy exists at their place of choice, and this can be very much in the best interest of the member and the organisation.
The current practices of managing member movement within the organisation must be reviewed.
There will be the predictable critics with moving sideways, ‘why should I? I have done nothing wrong’. Maybe that is true, or maybe it is not, but whoever is right or wrong is not the issue; the issue is the members’ long-term welfare.
If another member or a manager behaves badly, here is some sage advice if you are faced with that situation;
‘It is better to let somebody else bruise their knuckles and avoid the drama, but enjoy the inevitable karma because if they are bad, this will be for them; an inexorable outcome.”
While the rights of the members must be protected, so must the role of the Chief Commissioner, who must retain the right to allocate resources as is required for the operation efficiency of the Police Force.
Apart from recent history, Chief Commissioners for decades exercised this power appropriately without causing undue hardship on members; that can be done again.