The life and near death of Sergeant Shaw

True Blue Line
6 min readMay 27, 2018


I joined the Western Australia Police in 1974. I have been stationed at Perth, Fremantle, Cannington, and Laverton among others. In 1985 I was the main poster face and voice for the Christmas Road Safety Campaign on TV, radio, newspapers, even back of buses everywhere.

They didn’t care for me and hundreds of others

Clinging to life

One early morning I have been stabbed three times while arresting an offender. With my knee joint smashed, I have dragged myself over a steel bullbar onto the bonnet of the offender’s Ford F100 as he was trying to finish me off. I have literally ridden out on the bonnet. As I was hanging on to life, my partner saved me by driving us out of there.

I have nearly lost my leg through infection, and I needed multiple operations to try to stabilise the knee.

I have transferred to Geraldton before moving on to Gosnells. While at Gosnells, I have attended some incidents that were so traumatic, I am not ready to talk about them.

In 1984 I went to Traffic where I was severely injured in a bike training accident when a fellow fell off his bike in front of me. Nose, face and neck injuries and the District Medical Officer stuffed up. They have kept me on the wrong medication for too long, even though I pointed out the warnings to her… the very warnings on the medication itself! I’ve had the lining of both sides of my nose cut out and part of cartilage removed. This has caused me a lifetime of sinus problems and infections.

In 1986 I was hit by a car while directing traffic at an accident scene — suffered minor injuries.

In 1988 my mates and I were on the front page of the West when we had cornered an offender’s vehicle after a long chase involving the damaging of two Police vehicles before us.

I’m in the top left corner

The offender reversed his vehicle at full speed back down Howick St in Victoria Park and rode up over the top of us. My steering wheel was bent back hard against the column on both sides. He got 18 months; I got a smashed up back.

Luckily, I was very fit at the time as the photo on the front page of The West Australian at the time showed.

I went back to work several months later through Police Occupational Health as a PTI at the Police Academy with Bert O’Meagher.

I became second to Bert and worked my arse off from mid-1988 till the end of 1990 when my legs finally gave out due to the extensive damage to my spine. My fitness could no longer keep up with the injuries. I desperately needed a back operation to walk. The senior Officer said they couldn’t afford it. After telling him he could talk to the union or the media, they agreed to pay

The operation was only partially successful, and I was told I would be in a wheelchair within four years. I was Medically Discarded in September 1992.

The agony

Both of my knees were in very bad shape. The right leg had supported the weak left leg for 32 years when we were supposedly given health cover through the Police Force via Risk Cover.

Risk Cover sent me to one of their quacks who admitted both knees were bone on bone. My feet had rotated out, and I walked like Charlie Chaplin. The quack put in a report stating that I “tended to exaggerate my symptoms”, that just because the right leg had carried the left leg for 32 tears, and that it was “just general wear and tear”. That was not something that Risk Cover would cover.

As for the left leg, the report stated “He should be OK. He has to take anti-inflammatory tablets”. This was complete quackery.

After 12 months on strong anti-inflammatory tablets, I had lost so much blood that I couldn’t stay awake for more than two hours. Luckily, my doctor discovered that my Haemoglobin count was so low I was near borderline for a heart attack.

Finally, I’ve had my left knee replaced on public health system 2011. My specialist had already sent a report to Risk Cover saying both knees needed to be urgently replaced. I was in agony all the time before the operation. Risk Cover denied the claim on the right leg and deemed the left knee did not need to be replaced yet.

After the operation, the right leg again carried the left leg, and I still couldn’t walk normally. The left knee was very badly swollen, and my lower left leg turned outwards.

Of course, all this was creating havoc with my doubly fused back and causing me intense pain

In late 2014, my specialist sent a damning report about my urgent need for a left knee replacement.

Finally, Risk Cover relented, and they’ve agreed to cover the knee replacement… but two days later while I was climbing some stairs (12 feet up) my left knee totally gave way. I fell back heavily on my left side to the floor below.

Once again, it was back to the hospital. Diagnosis: compressed spine and a protruding disc. I needed further fusion operation to stabilise my spine.

While still in hospital five days after that operation I was rushed for emergency surgery to remove a triple haematoma that was trapping the nerves. The pain was unbelievable, and my blood pressure was 220 over 105 at one stage.

I’ve spent 12 months in bed recovering. Then more bad news as complications developed following knee surgery.

The fight

Read more about my fight with Risk Cover and the action we are going take to bring workers compensation protection for WA Police Officers.

March for Justice

The Blue Family needs you to make a commitment to attend the Police March For Justice, Friday the 3rd August at 11.a.m, commencing at the Parliament House in Perth, Western Australia.

It will be an orderly and family-friendly gathering and march. There will be placards showing what has happened and continues to happen to Police Officers, especially those who have been medically retired and left with nothing.

There will be speeches made by retired officers and also by parliamentarians at 221 St Georges Terrace, at the finish of the short march from Parliament.

The march will start at the Parliament House and proceed to St. Georges Terrace.

You will have the opportunity to meet the officers, hear their stories, and just by being there, help WA Police officers in their fight for workers compensation.

We have to stop the loss of our serving and retired members of the Blue Family. We need to let the public, who are largely ignorant about what is happening to their Police, know what is happening to officers, when they become injured and ill while working for the West Australia Police Force.

The current situation may not have affected you personally throughout your whole career, but it has affected many of our and your friends and workmates. They, we, need you to attend to show support for them and those officers still serving.

This is a chance to get great exposure to the plight of these people and to bring about change… AFTER 35 YEARS.

Can we count on you to support our police?



True Blue Line

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