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PTSD forces ‘Robocop’ to hang up his cuffs

Emotional toll: Top cop Ali Livingstone was forced to retire by PTSD PICTURE: SWNS

A POLICE sergeant who was once the country’s top arresting officer has been forced into retirement by post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ali Livingstone, 36, was dubbed Robocop after collaring an average of 2.2 suspects every shift during his 18-year career with Suffolk Police.

He once made 700 arrests in one year — but the strain of the job caused a ‘significant’ mental breakdown in March last year.

He said: ‘It was an accumulation of exposure to trauma, like house fires, fatal car crashes, murders for example, but also speaking to bereaved families, seeing families being split up. For me that’s the hidden harm. You’re always faced with those raw emotions.’

Mr Livingstone — who worked as a response sergeant, tactical advisor, negotiator and search advisor — said of his illness: ‘It hit me like a bus and left me broken beyond repair. The last 15 months have been debilitating and devastating. When your PTSD, depression and anxiety is anchored around policing, you have to decide whether to carry on or not.

‘The pressures of policing do have an impact, we’ve got people’s lives in our hands and that’s a burden that weighs heavily on us.’

He is writing a book about his experiences on the force.