CHASING down a suspected burglar and being injured in the process has left its mark on Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl.
Although not seriously injured during his pursuit more than 30 years ago in his time as a young police officer, he has always appreciated the support he received during his recovery.
He will always have a respect and appreciation for the work done by specialist staff at the Police Rehabilitation Centre.
Then his convalescence took place at the Seaside Home in hove, near Brighton. Today, that facility has moved with the times, and moved to a state-of-the-art centre at Flint House in Goring-on-Thames, Oxon.
Martin recalled the night in 1982 when he was mown down by a car driven by a suspected burglar.
“I was on nights and in Albion Street in Cheltenham there was a report of suspicious behaviour,” he said.
“I saw a car and the driver put his foot down, drove straight at me and took me out. He had just done a burglary. He was arrested for attempted murder and later charged for wounding with intent.
“The driver completely took me out. I was knocked out and covered in cuts and bruises. I was very young at the time and thought I was invincible. It took a bit of time to accept that someone was prepared to cause me serious injury. I came back to work too early, after about a week. But I bounced back pretty quickly after that.
“My recovery at Brighton was a chance to reflect on things. I got back on with business after that.”
Martin was invited to visit Flint House last week and has been seeing at first hand the work it does.
“It's quite different from the time I was undergoing treatment at the seaside home, but the principle is the same, helping officers to get better after illness or injury,” he said.
“Where in my day, it was generally bed-rest and physiotherapy, the rehabilitation programme here is tailored to the individual and these days can include a wide variety of treatments, from acupuncture to psychological support. Facilities at Flint House are tremendous. They have the latest equipment and a great ration of rehabilitation staff to officers. It is state of the art with reduced gravity treadmills. hydro pools and a fantastic gym.
“The equipment deals with the physical injuries, but it is important for officers to understand what has happened to deal with potential trauma.
“People there want to get fit and want to get back to work.”
Last year, Flint House treated 49 Gloucestershire police officers for mainly muscular and skeletal injuries. It is run by a charitable trust that has been in existence for more then a century.
In Gloucestershire, 74 per cent of officers are signed up to support the project with subscriptions supporting the service.