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Blue: A Memoir

Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces
Narrated by: Charles Armstrong
Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (159 ratings)

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Summary

John Sutherland joined the Met Police 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 in London's local neighbourhoods, he worked across the capital, experiencing firsthand the enormous satisfaction as well as the endless trauma that a life in blue can bring. There were remarkable, career-defining moments: reaching out to teenagers travelling along the wrong path, commanding armed sieges, rescuing victims of domestic violence from desperate situations, saving lives, and seeing dangerous people taken off the streets. But for every case that ended well, there were others that ended in desperate sadness, as he bore the responsibility for the safety of hundreds of thousands of Londoners on his shoulders.

In early 2013, whilst working as the Borough Commander for Southwark in South London, John suffered a major breakdown and a consequent battle with crippling depression. After a career spent policing the streets and racing to be first at the scenes 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. It offers an immensely moving and important insight into what it is to be a police officer in 21st-century Britain.

©2017 John Sutherland (P)2017 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

" 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, best-selling author of Tornado Down)
"A superb book by a superb police officer." (Charles Cumming)

What listeners say about Blue: A Memoir

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Excellent and courageous tail of his experience

You realise immediately he has high standards and skill recognised by his colleagues. Protecting the public is not only physically hazardous dealing with criminals and the like. Many leave the service before suffering emotionally, broken relationships or like many lesser mortals use alcohol as a legal anaesthetic to numb the stresses of the day to then be dependent on it. An execellent narration giving you an honest analysis i believe of the police service. The stigma of injuries of the mind need to be talk about and treated no more differently than a person recovering from cancer.

3 people found this helpful

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Inspiring, enthralling and humbling

I finished this in one day. Absolutely fantastic book. Inspiring, enthralling and humbling book. Highly recommended!

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An enlightening look into the world of can really happen to a police officer.

I found this book extremely enjoyable. I joined the Met a few years after the author so can totally relate to his experience of Hendon, his first station, being given a nickname, his time on street duties and his first arrest. I also suffered from PTSD which brought on depression so fully understand the horrors he’s seen and had to deal with. I truly enjoyed it and think all cops should give it a read. Wac

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Blue

Fantastic, open and honest look into what many do not see. Thankyou for sharing 👍

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Relatable, honest, insightful.

I found this incrdibably relatable, the job is a roller-coaster at times. To hear this honest account from somebody as successful as yourself speaks volumes to me personally. A must read.

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Brilliant!

Very honest and interesting insight into the highs and lows of a long policing career.

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An immersive insight into the Metropolitan Police and the humanism that policing requires

A really enjoyable listen, I would highly recommend to anyone interested in policing in general, and the empathy required to be a successful officer. Not only that, but John Sutherland expertly puts across the emotional side of what is generally depicted as a tough-love responsibility. There is a general ignorance to the fact that the very people protecting us are also vulnerable members of the public themselves, who have families, who eat out with friends on the weekend, who look forward to everything anyone else does. It’s inspiring and insightful, emotional and hard wearing but above all it was a great story which felt very real from start to finish.

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Read/Listen and take heed

This is a brilliantly written book that all serving officers should read. I have never considered myself someone who got "stressed" or struggled with the things I saw in the Job. Unfortunately it took the breakdown of my relationship to finally see how untrue this was. I'd read this book about a year beforehand and found it to be a brilliantly written piece by an inspirational man. In hindsight it should have helped me see those early warning signs myself, but unfortunately like many I simply ignored or brushed them away. Read, and please take heed....

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Very interesting

I really enjoyed listening to this book, a lot of the incidents took me back in time , but it was lovely to hear the thoughts and feelings described from a policeman's point of view .

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A must read

a retired officer with ptsd i feel that this was also my story.. thankyou