Under Siege -
now a best seller
'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: a branch of policing where honesty, teamwork and adrenalin collide.' Mark Whittaker, journalist, Fairfax Newspapers
Belinda Neil lived and breathed her high-octane job. She relished her roles as a homicide investigator and hostage negotiator with the New South Wales police force, but she never knew what her work day might bring. She could be investigating brutal murders such as the De Gruchy killings or, in her negotiator role, persuading the murderous and suicidal to drop their weapons, stop terrorising their families, step back from the ledge.
It was hardly surprising that over time the horrors she saw began to take their toll. After years of broken sleep, traumatic crime scenes and death, one disastrous 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. A short time later, 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 brave memoir reveals how the daily trauma and stress affected Belinda’s roles as wife and mother and how she fought against the terrifying post traumatic stress disorder that resulted to come back from a very dark place
Click above to read chapter sampler
"Under Siege" book review:
“This sobering account… should be mandatory reading for every police recruit as pre-emptive therapy, and to those in charge to help them better recognise early symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.”
The Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum and The Canberra Times Panorama
“Under Siege” by Belinda Neil is a deeply moving personal account of her career as a New South Wales, Australia police hostage negotiator and homicide detective. The significant demands these dual roles placed on her personal and professional life were non-stop and extremely stressful. Responding on call day after day, night after tense night, always dealing with high drama and life threatening events, provided little psychological equilibrium for support of a normal life and work balance.
Neil worked many tense hostage negotiation incidents where lives were in the balance, and then often would go directly to a horrific homicide crime scene that humans are not meant to see. Repeated exposure to these incredibly stressful events attacked her senses and her very well being.
Her deeply personal account of the effects of PTSD is both insightful and instructive. Her courageous personal journey and her candor about the psychological impact on her own life gives us a rare glimpse into the effects of such stressful work on a human being. She shares the personal toll PTSD took on her ability to function, and then shows the reader how to recognize and cope with such events to minimize their impact. Most importantly, she talks about the long difficult healing process.
This book is a must read for anyone wanting to know more about PTSD and how a dedicated law enforcement officer deals with one of the most stressful jobs there is."
Gary W. Noesner.
Chief, FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit (retired) Virginia, USA
Author of 'Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator' by Random House
Author Belinda Neil on her book Under Siege:
As a young nineteen year old, a career in the New South Wales Police Force seemed perfect for me. It was the combination of adventure and being able to help the community that appealed. I had a very different policing career from the norm. I worked in some of the most exciting and challenging areas in the police force — undercover work, homicide investigation and hostage negotiation. Unfortunately, the many horrific situations and crime scenes I investigated became too much to bear. I finally succumbed to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). My career ended, my marriage broke down leaving me a single mum to two young children, and I seriously considered suicide.
When I was undergoing therapy for PTSD, I saw a number of hard working police and defense force personnel who had also succumbed to PTSD, some taking their own lives. I felt for them, the pain they and their families go through. This inspired me to write Under Siege. I felt that by telling my story it might make a difference to someone else, their family, their friends. I want to create a greater awareness of PTSD, how it can occur, the symptoms, and what helped me on my road to recovery. I want to create conversation about what measures we can take to minimise the symptoms of PTSD and how to help those persons already subject to the worst symptoms.
In Under Siege, I want to take the reader on a journey showing how I succumbed to PTSD. I warn you, the content of this book can be confronting as I describe the crime scenes in graphic detail. I want you to feel as if you were there. I want to exhaust you as I was exhausted after going from traumatic incident to horrific crime scene. My wish is that you will have a greater understanding of PTSD after you have read Under Siege.
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st July 2014