10 December 2021
Four Derbyshire police officers who risked their lives to rescue a woman from a treacherous stretch of the River Derwent have been honoured at the Police Federation’s 2021 Police Bravery Awards.
PCs Joshua Dales, Richard Deakin, Max Freeman and an officer we cannot name were nominated for an award in recognition of their life-saving actions.
They joined fellow nominees from across England and Wales at the awards ceremony in London on Thursday (9 December) in front of an audience including policing minister Kit Malthouse, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.
They were accompanied to the awards ceremony by Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton and the Assistant Chief Constable Dave Kirby. Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster was also at the event.
The officers’ citation said the woman was spotted in the river, which has dangerous underwater currents, close to a deep weir on 20 April 2020.
“The water coming over the weir has been described as acting like a washing machine and is extremely dangerous,” said Tony.
“The female was also close to a sluice which leads to a turbine blade and she and the officers could have been dragged into the sluice.
“The officers entered the water to help her but at first she resisted their rescue attempts and actually tried to move further across the weir before being pulled to the side and rescued.”
Tony has praised the officers, three of whom are based at St Mary’s Wharf Police Station in the city, while one is based on the Uniform Task Force within Operations Division.
“I’ve nothing but admiration for the brave actions of our colleagues in successfully rescuing this lady in extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances,” he said.
“They put themselves in harm’s way to save and protect others, despite the risks involved. They’re very worthy nominees and I felt very proud to see their brave actions recognised at last night’s awards ceremony.”
PC Deakin has 13 years’ service, PC Freeman has five years’ service and PC Dales has been with the Force for three years.
The national Police Bravery Awards honour officers from across England and Wales who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.
Four West Yorkshire Police officers who detained two attackers who murdered a man with a samurai sword were named overall winners at the awards ceremony.
The colleagues were honoured for their professionalism during a horrific incident in January 2020 when they responded to reports of a man being viciously attacked outside a pharmaceutical factory in Huddersfield.
The officers – one of whom was in the first two weeks of her career – were confronted by the barbaric sight of attackers hacking at the victim with a sword and knives when they arrived at the scene. They bravely managed to detain both assailants, despite the offenders still being in possession of the murder weapon and knives.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the “dedication and conscientiousness” of all the nominees and paid tribute to their bravery.
He said: “Acts of bravery in policing are, necessarily and thankfully for us all, commonplace. Every day, local and national media is awash with examples of police heroism. Be it confronting dangerous and violent people, rescuing members of the public or working day and night on the most harrowing of cases, bravery is a defining characteristic of the police.
“It is this unflinching bravery, alongside your dedication and conscientiousness, that inspires my steadfast support for the police.
“I am bowled over by the nominees. You are a credit to your forces and your illustrious forebears in policing. I salute each and every one of you.”
Kerry McMahon-White, head of partnerships at Police Bravery Awards sponsor Police Mutual, said: “The role of a police officer has never been easy, but the last 18 months has seen you continue to protect the public while battling the unprecedented impact of Covid-19, putting the safety of others before yourself with unwavering commitment.
“I thank each one of you for the sacrifices you have made with resolute dedication in the most difficult of circumstances.
“To all of you who have been nominated; your acts of bravery are exceptional and this evening we pay tribute to your remarkable heroism and dedication.
“All at Police Mutual are honoured to be able to support those who have gone above and beyond and offer our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all nominees.”