A Mid-Sussex woman has thanked and praised two new West Sussex officers, saying they saved her life.
The woman wrote to the force to express her gratitude after PCs Donna King and Daniel Churchyard, along with their coach, PC Leanne Tighe, visited her home in Mid Sussex in January.
Unknown to her, a friend who had become concerned for her welfare had called the police.
“I was suicidal that morning, so my friend was extremely concerned. The three officers that came round my house were so lovely. They chatted to me, listened to me and helped me.
"They didn't think it was safe to leave me, so they made some calls and took me to an urgent care centre at a hospital. The male officer even got my lock fixed as I locked myself out.” The lady added that, as a result, she was now getting the help and support she needs.
“I want to thank the officers so much for their help and kindness. If I hadn't had spoken to them I wouldn't be here now. They saved my life.
“The three officers are a credit to the police force,” she added. “I hope this message gets to them.”
The woman wishes to remain anonymous, but has agreed to her experience and her thanks to the officers being shared.
PCs Donna King and Daniel Churchyard were only a few shifts into their new roles as frontline response officers, having joined the Dedicated Coaching Unit in West Sussex after completing their initial training at the county police HQ. Accompanied by their coach, PC Leanne Tighe, the officers have been attending emergencies and other urgent issues in the Mid-Sussex and Crawley area.
District Commander for Crawley and Mid Sussex Chief Inspector Shane Baker:
“I am very touched to hear of the positive impact the three officers made on a member of the public when she needed us most. It is always rewarding to receive positive feedback about our officers; all the more so when two of the officers were only a few days into their new role. PCs King and Churchyard, alongside their coach PC Tighe, have demonstrated compassion and professionalism, and I congratulate them on the excellent start they have made in their career.
“They and their 45 fellow new officers across the force joined their divisions at the most challenging time of the pandemic – in late December – and the determination they have shown in supporting the Covid response and their communities has been highly appreciated.”
Until recently PC Donna King was the first port of call for visitors to Crawley Police Station, working on reception. Now she has moved from front desk to frontline, achieving her dream of becoming a police officer.
“It was one of our first incidents, so I felt a little nervous,” Donna said.
“The lady was not expecting our visit, so we put her at ease and approached the conversation in a very compassionate and human way, sharing some of our own personal experiences.
“Once she realised we were there to help, she opened up and we were able to get her the help she needed.
PC Dan Churchyard added: “As well as taking the lady to the medical centre, we took measures to safeguard this vulnerable individual by getting other agencies involved to give her extra support, as part of our follow-up procedure.”
“It felt very rewarding to get this feedback so early on, as I joined the force wanting to support, protect and help members of the public,” said Dan, who previously worked in the prison service for three years.
“I hope this serves as a reminder to anyone who suffers with their mental health that there is always someone out there prepared to listen and help you during those difficult times.”
Donna added: “It was good to find out we had made such a positive difference to this woman. I was really touched to receive the thank you. It is a reminder of why I joined the police.”