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NEWS


Buddy system could ease burden on grieving widows


PC James ‘Dixie’ Dixon, one of the stars of ‘Road Wars’, the fly-on-the-wall documentary series, was killed, aged 39, when his police motorcycle was involved in a collision in Berkshire. The Thames Valley officer left behind


a wife, Samantha, and their son Parker, who was born after his father’s death in December 2017. His wife, herself a serving police officer, was grieving at a time when her personal tragedy was the subject of intense public scrutiny. After supporting Lissie Harper


through the trial of those who caused the death of her husband Andrew, Samantha is joining forces with the Care Of Police Survivors (COPS) charity to develop a ‘buddy system’ to match bereaved families with others who have gone through similar experiences. Samantha, a former Family Liaison Officer (FLO) said: “I want to be able


to go to the family in the first 48 hours and offer them a contact number for someone to talk to who has been through that awful situation already to help them through. For example, they can advise on things like the funeral - that’s a massive thing for anyone to organise but when you have the pressure of it being in the public eye, they shouldn’t be left to be subject to pressures from outside. Or, later, when they go to court, they should have someone who they can lean on who isn’t connected to the investigation and who isn’t a police officer. “I understand what the FLO is there for but it depends on the person and depends on what the family wants – they may want something very different from what the FLO’s senior management has in mind.” Samantha also found that there were extra pressures involved with being


Samantha Dixon with son Parker


the widow of a fallen officer. “You can’t explain or describe what it’s like to be the widow or parent of a fallen officer who is being hailed as a hero in the public, and yet the grief you feel is so personal and private. It’s an emotional rollercoaster,” she said


There can also be tensions within


families and “sometimes, as a spouse, you can feel left out in negotiations”, said Sam. A ‘buddy’ can be an extra person to talk to and get advice from.


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28 | POLICE | NOVEMBER 2020


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