18 November 2020
Scott Lee-Amies, who has been in roads policing for 22 years, is urging colleagues to seek the help they need after a series of distressing events led to him having counselling.
“As police officers, we’re good at looking after others, but it often becomes apparent we’re not good at looking after ourselves,” he said. “As roads policing officers we see a lot. We deal with families when a loved one is killed and often experience secondary grief. Many of us do this daily and believe we can just box it off and move on to the next.”
After a promotion to sergeant and a short spell on response, Scott became a trauma risk management (TRiM) practitioner and co-ordinator. His return to roads policing saw him become a team supervisor and lead investigator for killed or serious injury (KSI) collisions, as well as family liaison co-ordinator for road deaths in Suffolk.
Scott was the lead investigator for a collision in 2016 in which a two-year-old girl was killed. He said it was the most emotionally difficult thing he’d dealt with in his career.
“It was made worse by the fact the girl was only a week older than my own daughter, which I found extremely difficult,” he said. “I worked closely with the family liaison officer, who was also struggling with the deployment. I believe I did all I could to support the officers involved in this investigation but felt that I wasn’t getting any support from my supervisors, perhaps because I gave the impression things like this didn’t affect me.”
Later that year, Scott was first on the scene when a boy aged 13 was fatally shot in the neck when he and his friends were playing with an air rifle.
“Having performed CPR on the lad with his mother nearby, I was then called immediately to a fatal RTC,” he said. “I took no time to check myself and no one else appeared to consider that I was going to a fatal RTC straight from the scene of this horrendous accident.
The events began to get on top of Scott, he got angry over minor things, upset over others but thought it would pass. Things came to a head in December 2019, when Scott admits to “unacceptable” behaviour in stopping a member of the public.
The person was a therapist. They reported Scott appeared to be displaying psychological issues and should seek support. He took the advice and finally sought help.
“Not only did counselling help me deal with what had happened in the past and what was happening now, it gave me tools to deal with stresses in the future,” he explained. “If I had my time again, I’d take any help the Constabulary offered me and would be honest with my supervisor, rather than just expect them to know there’s a problem.
“I find debriefing as a team is a great way of checking your colleagues and yourself. We work so closely together that if you’re not right, someone will notice and hopefully be honest with you.”
Sergeant Scott Lee-Amies
Norfolk and Suffolk Police
Roads Armed Policing Team (RAPT)
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