Cockburn police officer dies from self-inflicted gunshot wound

Stock image.
Stock image.

A SERVING police officer has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after being found at Cockburn police station this morning.

Constable Darren Igglesden (50) has been revealed as the police officer at the centre of the incident.

The station has been temporarily closed after Const Igglesden was found this morning.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts, Police Commissioner Chris Dawson and Police Union president George Tilbury at a press conference today. Picture: Lauren Pilat.

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson has extended his condolences to the officer’s family, colleagues and all who knew him.

Mr Dawson said there was no suspicion regarding the circumstances of Const Igglesden’s death.

“It appears Darren has withdrawn his service-issued pistol from the armoury this morning shortly after 6am,” he said.

“He was found deceased by colleagues within the Cockburn police building.

“Darren’s death has come as a complete shock to his family, friends and indeed the entire police force.

“We will support all through this tragic time.”

“Well liked, well respected and very popular”

Const Igglesden served with WA Police for just over six years after a varied career in the private sector.

Mr Dawson said he was “well liked, well respected and a very popular member of the police force.”

“He initially was deployed to the Traffic Enforcement Group, then stationed at Fremantle Police Station before being transferred to Cockburn.

“The loss of any person’s life is always tragic but where a police officer has appeared to have taken his life in a police building, we’re putting additional chaplaincy, counselling, professional clinicians, and of course our peer support network in place.”

Union president George Tilbury said he was satisfied that support services were available for police officers.

“What we want to do is encourage members and their colleagues that if they see any signs that there is a problem or they do need help, to actually put up their hand and ask for assistance,” he said.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts said today’s events had been tragic.

“I certainly don’t have any information that there was any prior warning of this or that any of his colleagues were in any way aware of him having any particular issues,” she said.

“We’ve had some shocking tragic incidences in recent times where officers have had to turn up to some shocking scenes and sometimes they go to road crashes where they see some shocking scenes so we need to know that they have the support there.

“It used to be the case that the attitude was ‘toughen up’ and not to show any emotional vulnerability, it was seen as some kind of weakness.

“That’s not the attitude that’s been taken by police in recent years.”

Const Igglesden is survived by his brother and sister. His family lives in both regional and metropolitan WA.

Third case in a decade

It’s the third case of a West Australian police officer taking their life on the job in the past 10 years.

The WA Police Union and Medically Retired WA Police Officers Association have long called for more support, saying many first responders reported having suicidal thoughts after witnessing traumatic events.

In July 2015, Detective Sergeant Scott Blanchard took his own life while travelling with workmates to Kalgoorlie for a police operation involving Gypsy Joker bikies.

Deputy State Coroner Evelyn Vicker recently handed down her findings following an inquest into his death.

“I recommend WA Police health and welfare division use the police intranet to emphasise to serving members that their families should be made aware of the availability of its services,” she said.

In December 2008, Senior Sergeant Elliot Watt shot himself in the armoury of the Collie Police Station.

It was the first day back at work for the father of four after three weeks of annual leave and he had just assumed the role of acting officer in charge.

Members of the public have been asked not to attend Cockburn police station until further notice.

They can attend Fremantle or Mandurah police stations around the clock or call 131 444 for police assistance.

An investigation is underway into the incident.

Crisis helplines

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

Kids Helpline (for young people aged 5 to 25 years): 1800 55 1800