A Memoir – Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces
By John Sutherland
A searingly honest memoir of the uplifting highs and crushing lows of a life spent policing on the front line
A Sunday Times top-five bestseller
A searingly honest memoir of life, policing and falling apart
'Every contact leaves a trace'
John Sutherland joined the Met in 1992, having dreamed of being a police officer since his teens. Rising quickly through the ranks, and compelled by the opportunity to make a real difference to people's lives, he worked across the capital, experiencing first-hand the enormous satisfaction as well as the endless trauma that a life in blue can bring.
There were remarkable, career-defining moments: commanding armed sieges, saving lives and helping to take dangerous people off the streets. But for every case with a happy ending, there were others that ended in desperate sadness.
In early 2013, John suffered a major breakdown and consequent battle with crippling depression. After a career spent racing to be the first at the scene of crimes and catastrophes, he found himself in pieces, unable to put one foot in front of the other.
Blue is a memoir of crime and calamity, of adventure and achievement, of friendship and failure, of laughter and loss, of the best and the worst of humanity, of serious illness and slow recovery. With searing honesty, it offers an immensely moving and personal insight into what it is to be a police officer in Britain today.
John Sutherland is a father of three, who lives with his wife and children in south London. For the best part of twenty-five years, he has served as a Metropolitan Police Officer. He won the Baton of Honour as the outstanding recruit in his training-school intake. Over the course of his career, in which he has been awarded several commendations, he has worked in seven different London boroughs, in a variety of different ranks and roles, and he has also been posted to Scotland Yard on three separate occasions. His most recent operational job was as the Borough Commander for Southwark. John can be found on Twitter and Wordpress as 'policecommander'. Blue is his first book.
- Other details
- Publication date:
25 May 2017
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'A stark account of a talented police officer's breakdown . . . This is a startlingly honest book and the final two chapters are heartbreaking' — Richard Morrison, The Times
'I read Blue more or less in one sitting. I thought it was wonderful - very powerful, deeply moving and utterly honest' — Henry Marsh, bestselling author of Do No Harm and Admissions
'An honest look at the vulnerability that comes with bravery' — Independent
'Blue is a remarkable, revealing and inspiring insight into the worlds of the police and the policed. The stories told are by turns heart-warming and saddening, moving and maddening - it is an account of the very best and the very worst of our society. It is a book which should be required reading for all who aspire to public office, in any sector and at every level' — John Nichol, bestselling author of Tornado Down
'Brave and very honest' — Bear Grylls
'Admirably honest and movingly human . . . Sutherland asks us to look behind the faceless blue and see the individual people - "human and humane" . . . the everyday heroes and heroines who police our streets' — P.F. King, The Spectator
'A superb book by a superb police officer' — Charles Cumming
'This is a remarkable book: a diary which became a magnum opus on belief and success, on depression and despair. It is well written and intellectually demanding, profound and deeply moving. In places, it is funny; everywhere, it is thoughtful. It has as much to tell us about mental illness as it does about policing. And there is much love in it: for friends, for family, for life' — Alastair Stewart
'It is rare for an officer to reveal such deep, personal experiences about the effect policing has had on his life as does John Sutherland. His memoir will expand people's understanding of what it means to be a police officer in Britain today, revealing the truth about the toll that a career in policing can have on those tasked with the responsibility of tackling crime. This is a brave and compelling account of policing from a very senior officer in the most renowned police force in the world' — Colin Taylor, author of Life of a Scilly Sergeant
'A gripping book . . . moving and really powerful . . . I highly recommend it' — Jumoke Fashola, BBC London
'The effect of this honesty is to leave us both more appreciative of police officers and more concerned for their well-being, as well as encouraged that such a compassionate man was promoted so vertiginously. He describes police work as "fulfilling, humbling, inspiring, daunting, shattering, rewarding and soul-stirring" which is also a fair description of his book' — Josh Raymond, Times Literary Supplement