Beds - detained woman making threats to kill

PC Burgess (left) and Acting Sgt Lambert

PC Burgess (left) and Acting Sgt Lambert

Two Bedfordshire police officers who stopped a woman threatening to ‘kill everyone’ in a busy shopping centre have been nominated for a national Police Bravery Award.

Acting Sergeant Adam Lambert and PC Derek Burgess have been nominated for their actions when a call came in from the Mall in the Arndale Centre in Luton, reporting that an Asian female carrying a rucksack had been overheard saying she was going to “kill everybody”.

The force control room monitored the female via CCTV and directed A/S Lambert and PC Burgess straight to her.  It was a busy public area, so they quickly moved in and restrained her without considering their own safety. Incredibly, this led to a torrent of abuse and verbal hostility from passers-by who quickly gathered around them.

The officers soon realised the woman may be suffering from mental ill health, and considering the diverse community, dealt with her sensitively, moving her to a discrete security office, where a search revealed she had no weapons or devices on her and she was later provided with appropriate medical care.

Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said: “In today's age of heightened threat from terrorism, this incident was rightly handled as a high-risk, fast response in which officers and our partners alike recognised the potential danger to lives in a crowded shopping centre.

“However I am immensely proud that the officers who attended assessed the woman as vulnerable and calculated the risk, to ensure she was detained and the scene made safe without her coming to any harm.  She is now able to access the support she needs.

“The officers involved deserve significant praise and commending for their proportionate, professional and humane response, and I thank them for selflessly entering potentially dangerous situations for the protection of others.”

Jim Mallen, Chair of Bedfordshire Police Federation said:  “These officers are incredibly worthy nominees for a national Police Bravery Award.  They willingly put themselves at immense risk in the course of their duties - their priority being members of the public, who were going about their daily business unaware of the potential threat to their lives.  Both officers deserve to be commended for their heroic actions."

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