Praise for brave Derbyshire police officer who risked catching Covid-19 to keep distressed woman safe
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 ‘of a drunk woman in the road’ in Dronfield – although what happened when she arrived was anything but routine.
PC Beaumont, who is currently training to become a police constable, attended the scene with her colleague Hannah and found the woman who appeared to have a fever and was intoxicated.
It was the day before the first national lockdown was announced and, after questioning the woman, the officers decided she was showing symptoms of the virus.
“We wanted to keep her outside and avoid going in with her, but she had wounds on her arms,” PC Beaumont said.
"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.”
However, as PC Beaumont went to get protective gloves and a face mask, the woman ran into her house and armed herself with a knife which she threatened to use on herself.
The officers then bravely decided to delay putting on their PPE and went inside to try take the knife away from her.
PC Beaumont said: “I ran in after her, into her flat up a flight of stairs, and Hannah was on the floor with her. The lady had tried to hurt herself. I saw the knife on the floor and kicked that out the way, and Hannah at this point looked at me and couldn’t speak, she had gone into shock.
“She pressed the red button on her radio, and I was on mine telling our colleagues where we were, asking for support from officers. I moved Hannah out the way so she could compose herself, and I sat on the floor with the lady to check on her.
“Quite a lot of our colleagues came to help, but had to stay outside because of the risk of Covid. Paramedics came too in case she did have the virus or if she needed mental health support. I just kept talking to her and getting her to engage with the paramedics because she wasn’t responding to them, I was trying to keep her calm.”
Explaining how it felt to be faced with the incident, PC Beaumont added: “I didn’t really have time to think about what we’d dealt with until I got home.
"My mum came around and I remember I just cried on her at the door. I was worried about the lady having Covid and passing it on to me, but it was the whole not knowing if you could see people after it.
"At the time the guidance wasn’t even to cover your face, so I just stripped off at the door and washed as it was the only guidance at the time.
“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.”
The lady was later assessed by ambulance crew who confirmed she did not have Covid-19.
Recently PC Beaumont, who joined Derbyshire Constabulary just over a year ago as a PCSO, has been awarded a Chief Constable’s commendation in recognition of her actions.
She said: “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.
“Initially we went to the job because it was ASB. PCSOs wouldn’t usually deal with things like that, but they don’t just go and have a cup of tea with Mrs Miggins either. We do come in and help cops when we have to and when we can.
“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, but I know some people don’t. When I heard it was bravery I was like ‘no’ but then looking back, it was out of my job description.”
Derbyshire Constabulary gave thanks to PC Beaumont and her colleague Hannah for their quick thinking and selfless response which enabled them to form a relationship with the woman 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.”