Police Federation


An off-duty officer who displayed remarkable physical strength and courage to save the life of a drowning man, and, on top of that, controlling an escalating situation involving a drunk, unruly male, has been nominated for the national Police Bravery Awards 2024.

On 7 July 2023, the acting police sergeant from Surrey Police, who cannot be named for operational reasons, was off duty, enjoying time with her children and other families at Frensham Ponds on a warm summer evening after school.

As they were preparing to leave, her children ran over stating a male was drowning.

She rushed over to see a male struggling under a collapsed inflatable boat in the sailing area.

She immediately acted, swimming out more than 50 metres to find the male face down and not breathing. Using all her strength, she swam back to shore carrying the man while delivering in water resuscitation.

She managed to drag the male clear of the water, shouting for help, all the time trying to keep the children calm. As if that was not enough, she was then approached by a very drunk male who initially assisted her in pulling the victim from the pond, but then proceeded to start vomiting into the lake and swearing in front of the children, causing them further distress.

The man started fitting as she moved him into the recovery position. She was informed by the male’s partner who had appeared he had been drinking all day and was epileptic.

With her children very distressed and with the intoxicated male now exposing himself while shouting, other members of the public appeared on the scene and further arguments started about his behaviour.

Leaving the rescued man with a friend who could now talk to the ambulance control, she again went into the water to take control of the drunk male, ignoring the further possibility of injury to herself, and managed to escort him away towards the car park area where other males became involved and were shouting.

Having now managed to divide all parties she then started dealing with the paramedics. At this point, further arguments broke out with the drunk male and the other males. Without any protective equipment she, with help from a member of the public, separated the individuals after identifying herself as a police officer.

She tried to return to the children who were now even more distressed but was again called back as the drunk male now approached the beach with a lump of wooden fence post.

Concerned for the safety of people in the area, she tackled the male, taking him to the ground while ignoring the risk to herself, before subduing and disarming him.

Whilst using all her strength to keep him detained until backup arrived, she used her communications skills to liaise with the other services and reason with the man.

The doctor treating the male from the water categorically stated that, had she not pulled the man out of the water when she did, he would have died. He suffered a collapsed lung and pneumonia from nearly drowning.

Surrey Police Federation Chair Darren Pemble said: “I am again humbled by the bravery of police officers across the country who run towards danger when others run away.

“This was an extraordinary act of courage amidst a summer evening with her children and friends where she also had to deal with a disorderly drunk male exposing himself and a disorderly group.

“Throughout the evening, she remained calm, reassuring her children and others at the lake, and upheld the law with her instinctive and courageous actions where order was maintained. She is a real credit to Surrey Police and a worthy nominee for a bravery award.”

Surrey Police Chief Constable Tim De Meyer stated: “Her bravery exemplifies the very best of policing. Ever alert, she placed herself on duty in a moment to save a life. Extraordinarily calm and composed, she displayed remarkable physical and mental strength and courage. I am in awe as to how she singlehandedly saved a life, protected children, upheld the law and maintained order. Surrey Police could not be prouder of her.”

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