Brave officer risked Covid-19 to keep distressed woman safe
Main article content
The courage of a Derbyshire officer is being recognised after she risked catching Covid-19 to keep a distressed woman safe.
PCSO Heather Beaumont was called to a routine antisocial behaviour incident in Dronfield, and what happened when she arrived was anything but routine.
PC Heather Beaumont was called to a routine antisocial behaviour incident in Dronfield. What happened when she arrived was anything but.
PC Beaumont, who was a PCSO at the time and is currently training to be a police constable, explained: "I went to Dronfield Police Station for my lunch like I sometimes do. Not long after, I got called to what was described as ‘anti-social behaviour of a drunk woman in the road.’
“When I got there, the lady appeared to have a fever and was intoxicated. I was trying to calm her down as she was in hysterics. It was the day before the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown was formally announced in the UK, so the first thing I asked was if she had Covid-19. She told me that she had been self-isolating, so I formed the opinion that she was showing symptoms of it.
“I wanted to keep her outside and avoid going inside, but she had wounds on her arms. I started doing first aid and she kept coughing quite a lot, but we managed to calm her down and I went to the car to get some PPE.”
PC Beaumont started walking to her police vehicle to get protective gloves and a face mask, when the woman ran past her into her house and armed herself with a knife, and threatened to use it on herself.
Heather made the brave decision to delay putting on her PPE, to go inside, and try to take the knife away from her.
PC Beaumont said: “As I was rummaging in the boot, a colleague shouted that she’d gone inside. I ran in after her, into her flat up a flight of stairs. The lady had tried to hurt herself. I saw the knife on the floor and kicked that out the way.
“I was on my radio telling my colleagues where we were, asking for support from officers. I sat on the floor with the lady to check on her."
This was the first time PC Beaumont had attended an incident with a knife, as she was only a few months into the job.
Explaining how it felt to be faced with the incident, PC Beaumont added: “lt was one of those jobs where we were told it was one thing and when we got there discovered it was something else, really it was just a bad day for her. It was like something inside me just kicked in - I just had to deal with it, sort it out, get my head into gear. Afterwards we just carried on, we went to find a missing person in Chesterfield.
“I didn’t really have time to think about what we’d dealt with until I got home. That’s what it’s like when you’re on the frontline. If you’ve had a bad day you go home to your safe space and just flump, reflect on what’s happened and let it all out.”
Recently, Heather has been recognised for her actions at the incident, and has been awarded a Chief Constable’s commendation.
She explained: “I got notified about the award nomination and I thought ‘oh right, why?!’ I felt very proud of myself, proud for being recognised for doing something I was expected to do, but it wasn’t a big deal to me.
“I didn’t want any recognition for it, just wanted to do my job and go home.
“On that day to me, all I was doing was my job. I thought I was doing what any other person in that situation would. When I heard it was bravery I was like ‘no’ but then looking back, it was out of my job description.”
After the initial response to the incident, the lady was assessed by the ambulance team who confirmed that she was not suffering from Covid-19. The two PCSOs did not have this hindsight.
The story comes as the force supports #ResponsePolicing Week. As part of the week, the force is recognising the brave actions of our officers and staff who regularly go above and beyond to keep people safe.
Thanks to PC Beaumont's quick thinking and selfless response, she was able to form a relationship with the lady and calm her down enough to stop her from harming herself, or possibly worse.
Assistant Chief Constable Michelle Shooter added: “Our officers and staff often work long hours and face demanding situations to make sure that we are here for you when you need us. They never know what they will be faced with when they come into work each day, but they do it all without a thought for the danger they might face - all so that they can keep Derbyshire safe.
“This has particularly been the case during the pandemic, when officers and staff have been on the frontline day in, day out to serve the public – even if this meant more risk from the virus for themselves and their families.
“I want to say a huge thank you to PC Beaumont and to all those who have put others first during this time. We owe them a huge debt.”