Every year, thousands of police officers are injured in the line of duty. Most recover and can return to work, but others are not so fortunate. For some officers, their injuries are life-changing and sadly put an end to their policing careers.
Police Care UK provides a range of practical, emotional and financial support to officers who have been hurt. No amount of money can turn the clock back but, as injured officer Sam Ryder from Sussex Police explains, it can improve a person’s quality of life.
Sam was injured on duty in 2014. She now lives with constant back pain and has limited movement in her shoulders, making simple tasks like cooking or washing her hair extremely difficult. Police Care UK arranged for an occupational therapist to visit Sam at home to see what equipment or layout changes could make life a little easier for her. Sam said: “She literally came in and we went from the top to the bottom of the house with her asking how I used each room, what I could do with, and suggesting things that could be done. It was brilliant and she opened my eyes to things that I didn’t know existed.”
“It was maybe a couple of weeks later that I got the report. There was stuff in there that she hadn’t even mentioned but she’d obviously thought about while she was doing her report.”
Having heard that Sam was managing on just a few hours’ sleep each night, the therapist suggested she would benefit from an adjustable bed. Police Care UK funded this as well as a contribution towards the cost of her mobility car. “I was only getting between two and four hours of sleep in our old bed,” Sam explained. “In this one, the minimum I’ve had is three and the maximum I’ve had is eight which is unheard of, absolutely unheard of. I am sleeping better and I’m having a better quality of sleep.”
“Without that car I would be stuck here all day, all week, without any way of getting out at all. I only drive it to the doctors, the supermarket or to the hairdresser but it’s a bit of independence.”
Like many officers, Sam hadn’t heard of Police Care UK and says she would like to hug the person who introduced her to the charity “because they’ve really helped me”.
“People look at charities as supporting poor people or animals, or children. They look at charities as helping somebody else, or they give to a charity to help someone else. I didn’t realise that a charity would be able to help me,” Sam said.
“Being a police officer makes you part of a family and it’s almost like this is a family, not a charity, and because it’s only for police officers it’s like it’s just for me. I don’t get very many things that are just for me.
“I think dealing with just police means the charity understands what kind of mental state we’re in, what kind of injuries we’ve got. They know. And it makes me feel better knowing that they know. It feels good.”
“If I could, I would shout it from the rooftops. If you need something, contact these people. If they can help you, they will.”