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“The Price we Pay”: Bob Marmion

Set to be published in September, “The Price We Pay” tells the story of Bob Marmion, a uniformed Victoria Police member and detective facing PTSD, and the challenge of rebuilding his life. Read his synopsis below.

“The image kept repeating itself over and over. I was standing in a paddock at night listening for the noises. I was surrounded by loud, vicious dogs. I had to run. I had to do something. Turning away. I willed my legs to move. They wouldn’t. I felt like I was going to collapse. Suddenly the dogs had parted and there was a man crouching in the long grass. The dogs had been herding me towards him. I was going to be OK after all. I looked at the man and froze in terror. He was pointing a shotgun at me. Without saying anything he fired both barrels. Everything suddenly went blank. I snapped awake, shaking and sweating. Was I dead or alive?   It was the same nightmare that kept coming back night after night.

I often wondered how did it come to this? I joined the Victoria Police Force in early 1976 as a young, bright but very naïve and immature eighteen year old – like a shiny new penny, if you will. By the time I was discharged as medically unfit fifteen years later, I was a very battered and scarred penny. The shininess had long given way to a deep tarnish. 

In that time, I cheated death so many times. If I was a cat, I would have only one life left.

The book is about the real life experiences faced by a typical member of the Victoria Police Force. Some are funny, others are scary, all are brutally honest. The accounts give an insight into the daily life of a young constable in uniform and later, a detective in the Criminal Investigation Branch. I loved my job; it meant everything to me. I just didn’t realise it was also going to kill me given the chance.

The book goes further than just being a blow by blow account of fighting crime. It traces my journey from a young constable to a physical and mental wreck with complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD as a result of the incredibly dangerous workload of being a detective in Melbourne’s crime riddled northern suburbs. I faced the worst humanity had to offer – brutal, uncaring and vicious behaviour that was repeated over and over. I saw and experienced things that no one should have to.

Whilst the book gives a unique insight into real life policing, it also documents the cost – in effect, the price we pay for law and order. Whilst set some decades ago, it still has a great deal of relevance to today. Not much, if anything, has changed. Police are still ravaged by PTSD as a result of going about their daily duties. As a result, many are left traumatised and unable to work. Too many take their own lives.

An important part of the book is the recovery process. I reached the absolute bottom of the pit, affected by drug and alcohol addiction and contemplating suicide. Slowly but surely, over a thirty year period, I have dragged myself out of the pit and rebuilt my life. Though still burdened with PTSD and the nightmares of my service, life is good.

The book outlines my journey and experiences, good and bad, and the long road back to having a “normal” life. If my book can shed light on the difficulties that police veterans face, then I believe it will be a positive outcome.”

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Nicholas CHATTINGTON

    I am just wondering if the author of this book Bob MARMION is the same person I shared a flat with back in the late 1970s. I have not heard from him for many many years. I was also boarded out of the job back in 1996 due to PTSD etc. I will not post the assistance I got from the Vic Pol Force but can say I got a lot more assistance from DVA. Nearly 22 years with Vic Pol and nearly 4 years with the Navy says everything that needs saying.

  2. Kevin J McDONALD
    Kevin J McDONALD

    I remember you Bob Marion. The northern suburbs and service within the inner areas of Melbourne also took a hold on me. Every day I suited up to face the same ‘demons’. I left the job in 1988 after coming home after one particularly busy shift in Flemington/Ascot Vale. I was bloodied, bruised, scarred mentally, inform torn and dirty. I enjoyed fighting. My now wife gave me an ultimatum- ‘I’m going back to Qld. You need to make a choice, you will either end up dead or you will kill someone but in any event you’ll end up in Gail’. She was correct. My drinking was out of control and I had lost my way. I left VicPol, moved to Qld, lounged on the beach for twelve months and then back into the fight. Attorney Generals Office as an Investigator, then back into the coppers. I retired five years ago but my trauma has been identified, that is the cause and time are acknowledged has having been sown in VicPol. My memories of past experiences both visceral and cognitive are very real and intense. I am thankful to PVV and my military service is recognised so I was taken up immediately and from that time on I keep looking forward. Best wishes to you Bob. By the way do you still sport that outstanding RSM stache you so proudly wore.

    1. Bob Marmion

      Hello Kevin, The “stache” got me into so much trouble with the boss – trim it you hippy lout! No, I’m clean shaven now. I grew it for Movember last year, but my second wife Silvia told me to shave it off. As she who must be obeyed made it clear it made me look all of my 64 years. Great to hear from you. Drop me a line via the email below. Cheers, Bob

      1. Terry Page

        Did you write book on Queencliffe raid 1942 . My dad told me as a lad . He was at Pt. Nepean .

  3. John Stubbs

    I was one of your trainees Bob Marmion at Broadmeadows in 78. You set me on a good path by your example. Thank you.

  4. Bob Marmion

    Hello John, how are things. I’m glad I had a positive influence even though I was barely senior to you. I have called Broady the hell of the north in the book. What an experience! Drop me a line if you have a chance.

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