As a police officer, Alistair Livingstone was dubbed Supercop by the media for making more arrests than any other officer in the UK. But then Ali broke down. Broken Blue Line is the vividly told story of what brought him to that point, and the beginning of his slow, painful recovery.
Ali was dubbed Supercop for making more than 1,000 arrests over one eighteen-month period, when the average arrest rate for officers in England and Wales is just nine a year. In his work as a police officer, he dealt with life-and-death situations on an almost daily basis: saving lives as a hostage negotiator; rescuing the occupant of a house fire; providing tactical advice during some of the most violent incidents; clinging onto a suicidal man hanging from the roof of a multi-storey car park; and entering a flat that had been blown up in an explosion just moments before. Ali was also engulfed in the aftermath and devastation of losing a colleague and friend who died doing the job she loved, and he witnessed the unprecedented response to the serial killings in Ipswich and the profound effect it had on the community and the police.
But then an agonising and debilitating mental breakdown left the seemingly indestructible sergeant desperately seeking help. After almost two decades helping some of society’s most vulnerable people he became so troubled by what he had seen and done in the line of duty that he hit rock bottom. Ali had no option but to walk away from the job that had defined him to embark on his biggest challenge yet: regaining his mental health.
Ali’s book offers an insight into the real world of modern policing: the demands and challenges faced by frontline officers throughout the UK. Ali’s hope is that by opening up about his experiences and his struggle to regain his mental health in this no-holds-barred account, he will help to remove some of the lingering stigma that attaches to mental illness within the police and other professions and prevent others from making the same mistakes that he did.
Ali says that he thoroughly enjoyed being a police officer and got to experience the sharp end of policing in so many different ways. When he finally made the decision to leave he was devastated and the months that followed his breakdown were the toughest he’d ever faced. Now that he is on the road to recovery, he hopes that by sharing his story it’ll shine a light on the challenges of modern policing and the toll it can take, and, in doing so, to help others.