'Her extraordinary journey juggling the roles of police negotiator, homicide investigator, wife and mother shines a light on this little-understood limb of law enforcement.' Mark Whittaker, Fairfax newspapers
Belinda Neil lived and breathed her job. She loved her roles as a homicide investigator and hostage negotiator with the NSW police force, but she never knew what her work day might bring. She might be investigating a crime scene; talking a suicidal woman down from a cliff; or trying to convince a deranged man not to slit the throat of his wife and children.
As a negotiator, Belinda often found herself on cliff edges, waiting in doorways or out amongst the elements, persuading the murderous and suicidal to drop their weapons, stop terrorising their families, step back from the ledge.
Belinda was so physically slight she needed help lifting on her ballistics vest, but her team never doubted her physical or mental courage. She was put forward for a bravery award and promoted to inspector but every time she stepped into a negotiation, her life was in danger, and over time the horrors she saw and her punishing schedule began to take their toll. After years of broken sleep, traumatic crime scenes and death, a series of disastrous events one weekend brought everything to a head.
The next morning when she awoke, Belinda found she was shaking so badly she could not get out of bed. Unsure what was happening to her, she sought counselling but one day, shortly after, she saw the name of an old hostage-taking adversary in the paper; he had killed his ex-girlfriend. It was too much and as the continued stress took its toll, Belinda found herself contemplating jumping off a cliff in the Moreton Bay National Park. She had even written the suicide note.
Under Siege shows us the remarkable job homicide investigators and hostage negotiators perform, and their endurance and courage in impossible circumstances. More than that, this courageous memoir reveals how the daily trauma and stress affected Belinda's roles as wife and mother, how she fought against the terrifying post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted to come back from a very dark place.
About the Author
Belinda Neil joined the NSW Police in 1987 and over an eighteen-year career worked as an undercover operative, and as a major crime squad detective investigating illicit drug operations, organised crime, and homicide. Belinda was also a police hostage negotiator and trained at the counter terrorist level, leading one of five Counter Terrorist Negotiation Teams at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
After being promoted to the rank of Inspector in 2002, she retired in 2005 due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as a result of the many traumatic incidents she had been to. Belinda is passionate about raising awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, especially after having learnt so much through research and therapy.
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st July 2014
Country of Publication: AU