PC David Rathband 1968 – 2012
It is tragic to get up this morning and learn of the death of PC David Rathband whose life was irrevocably changed in July 2010 when he was shot and blinded in an unprovoked attack with a firearm.
He was found dead at his home in Northumberland last night and I’m sure everyone’s thoughts are with his family, his friends and his colleagues in Northumbria Police at the news of this tragedy for them. I’m especially mindful of his children to whom it was clear he was devoted.
David’s actions in the immediate aftermath of being shot were heroic as he continued to do his job, not just to get himself urgent help but to start ‘policing’ the event despite horrendous injuries.
I defy anyone to suffer such a life altering event without suffering massive personal costs, of various kinds; and we know that officers are at far greater risk than most of suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression and other mental health problems as a result of their job – far more about that at a much more appropriate time.
Although it was a rare and extreme case, this shows how vulnerable police officers are in the aftermath of serious events at work and so I ask again: Who is protecting the protectors?
This is so very, very sad and our thoughts today should be with David’s family, friends and colleagues.