Insight

West Midlands 'Stoma Cop' inspires another Colitis patient to join police force

By Lucy Kapasi

A traffic officer with West Midlands Police who had his colon removed due to the condition Ulcerative Colitis, has inspired another man with the same illness to join the force.


PC Mark Woodcock affectionately known as Stoma Cop was able to return to the job he loves last year after having a stoma bag fitted.

After five years of suffering with symptoms including diarrhoea, cramping, fatigue and even arthritis, last year doctors at Walsall Manor Hospital told Mark he'd come to the end of the line with medication and he'd need two major surgeries to remove his colon and fit a stoma.

Mark in hospital Credit: Mark Woodcock
Mark with his stoma Credit: Mark Woodcock
Mark recovering from his surgery Credit: Mark Woodcock

Once he'd recovered from the operations, West Midlands Police bought him a military grade titanium armour belt to give his bag an extra layer of protection underneath his stab vest and Mark's been documenting his journey on social media where his handle is Stoma cop. 

Mark's titanium armour belt gives his stoma an extra layer of protection Credit: Mark Woodcock via Twitter
Mark was in hospital during the pandemic

Luke Jemson got in touch with Mark after seeing his story on twitter. A former Coldstream Guard he'd been discharged from the army just as he was about to go out to Afghanistan due to his Colitis and wasn't sure what to do next.


What is Ulcerative Colitis?


PC Luke Jemson became ill with Ulcerative Colitis before joining the police Credit: Luke Jemson

Mark and Luke say people shouldn't feel they have to share an invisible disability or illness but say being open has helped them get the support from colleagues to  continue with the job they both love.

Superintendent Richard Agar, the head of Central Motorway Police Group says the whole team have been impressed by the way Mark has handled his condition.

Click here for help and advice about Crohn's and Colitis or call the UK helpline.