The news of the suicide of PC David Rathband must be faced with a sense of inevitability and genuine tragedy. His life was literally blown apart by a psychopath in 2010. PC Rathband’s bold struggle to carry-on and strive towards rebuilding a meaningful life was mirrored by the predictable lack of state and organizational provision for crime victims in the UK.
PC Rathband made his needs and dissatisfaction about his police authority very clear and it seems in his post-attack took to using social media and media. Increasingly, and up to the days before his death he used networking to relay to the world, and by default his police authority, his psychological and practical turmoil. How can any of us dare to imagine the utter desolation and physical pain this man was enduring?
And now, the sickening parade of political soundbites from the UK prime minister and Home Secretary. The same government that only a few weeks ago announced huge cuts in state criminal injury compensation along with the on-going massive cuts in health and social care services. Shame on all those, that even in PC Rathband’s lonely death, they have shown a lack of political integrity, common sense and genuine humility to look at the mess this country is in and that they have actively made worse, and their failure to sufficiently make improved provisions for crime victims.
In a police magazine PC Rathband stated:
” … the federation had refused every request he has made for assistance and that he and his wife Kath have had to cope on their own with his disability … and went on to say that ‘’ Northumbria police federation had ‘abandoned’ him adding they should hang their heads in shame because the way they have treated me is just disgraceful. Since I got shot they have done very little. In fact, they have done next to nothing.” Russ Watson chairman Northumbria Police Federation said his organisation’s aim has ‘ always been to attempt to assist PC Rathband … Mr Watson said the federation had ‘ never refused to assist David in any way adding that he had pointed out obstacles within processes such as claiming disability living allowance, and the offer to assist with any Department of Works + Pensions issues ‘will always remain open.” ( Police Review; 26 November 2010; p26)
PC Rathband was a man screaming out to the world for help!. How can some one survive without considerable, consistent and high quality rehabilitative care and provision after becoming profoundly disabled and traumatized? How can any person so soon after repeated life traumatic events and emotional turmoil make clear and consistent plans in their lives without the highest quality professional help, and time?
Let us all in the UK demand nothing less as an act of remembrance and respect for PC Rathband to expect from this government that it makes robust and immediate changes. These changes are for the needs of professionals and innocent members of the public in access to appropriate standards of health, compensation and on-going care who are innocent victims of violent crime: Repeal the CICA Act 1995, retract the punitive cuts of CICA compensation for severely injured crime victims made in January 2012 and to stop the glorification of perpetrators of violent crime in the media! Let us remember PC David Rathband for the man who against all odds wished to be allowed to live with safety and dignity.