Hailing special efforts of volunteer bobbies

BRAVERY: Special constable Lee Deighton dived into the River Aire in full kit to pull a woman from the water. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
BRAVERY: Special constable Lee Deighton dived into the River Aire in full kit to pull a woman from the water. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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A Volunteer police officer who dived into the River Aire to save a woman’s life has been recognised by his full-time colleagues.

Special constable Lee Deighton was one of 12 people who received certificates of commendation at a ceremony to acknowledge the contribution of volunteers to policing in Leeds.

He was praised for demonstrating “the very highest levels of bravery and compassion” after plunging into the River Aire in Leeds city centre late at night to go to the aid of a 21-year-old woman who had fallen into the water and was lapsing into unconsciousness as a friend tried to keep her afloat.

Despite wearing his full kit, including stab vest, baton, handcuffs and radio, he managed to swim over to the pair and get them to safety.

Among the others to receive awards was special constable Alexander Woolven, who was on one of his first shifts as a response officer when he pulled a suicidal woman to safety from the ledge of a bridge over a busy dual carriageway in Burmantofts.

Mr Woolven was said to have demonstrated “quick thinking and calmness” in the way he handled the emergency.

Special constable Zoe Fairtlough showed “calmness and determination” when she and a regular colleague were the first on the scene of a fatal stabbing in Leeds city centre last month.

Despite chaotic scenes, with hundreds of people in the area, she gave emergency first aid before Marlon Small, 31, was taken to hospital, where he later died.

Another special constable, Karl Hardcastle, was recognised for his “eagerness and commitment” in bringing about the arrests of suspects after two separate assaults in one night.

Awards were also presented to special constables Luke Howson, Steve Child, Greg Holdsworth, former acting section officer Nicola Hoyte, senior section officers Greg Shaw and Al McFadyen, and police support volunteers Gurminder Panesar and David Lawson.

Chief Insp Nik Adams, the lead officer for specials and volunteers in Leeds, said: “Special constables are often the unsung heroes of many of the policing incidents that occur in the district.

“They are regular members of the public who have day jobs and family life to contend with yet they find the time to don their uniforms and work alongside their police colleagues. Our police support volunteers also make a valuable contribution using their skills and experience to support our work across a range of different roles.

“These awards have been a well-deserved opportunity to recognise the work of all those who give their time as volunteers to help keep people safe in our communities.”