Bravery of officers who waded into freezing sea to rescue woman is awarded

A team of officers have been awarded for the part they played in rescuing a woman from freezing cold sea in Skegness.
PCs Christopher Hine, David Sharpe and Jack Craft and Sergeant Simon Watson and with their awards.PCs Christopher Hine, David Sharpe and Jack Craft and Sergeant Simon Watson and with their awards.
PCs Christopher Hine, David Sharpe and Jack Craft and Sergeant Simon Watson and with their awards.

Sergeant Simon Watson and PCs Christopher Hine, Jack Craft and David Sharpe were deployed earlier this year on April 28 after the woman, who had been reported missing, was spotted in the sea by three asylum seekers.

The asylum seekers had alerted staff at the hotel in which they were staying and the police were informed.

There had been concerns for the woman;s safety and, as a result of the call, PS Simon Watson and PCs Christopher Hine, Jack Craft and David Sharpe went to the beach.

Lincolnshire Police said PC Sharpe, who had a drone with him, sent it out into the darkness to search for the woman.

When he located her some 50 metres from the shore, PS Watson and PC Hine waded out into the sea and were instructed by PC Sharpe who guided them while he was using the drone.

As PS Watson and PC Hine neared the shore PC Craft went into the water as well and joined them in dragging the woman on to dry land.

She was then rushed to hospital where she was treated for hypothermia.

As a result of their bravery, Sergeant Watson and PC Hine have been awarded Royal Humane Society Testimonials on Parchment and PC Craft has been awarded a Certificate of Commendation from the Society.

They were all presented with the award at the Chief Constable’s Commendation Award Ceremony held in Lincoln last week.

All officers including PC Sharpe, who are from our Skegness Neighbourhood Tasking Team, were also presented with the Chief Constable’s Commendation award by Chief Constable Chris Haward.

Chief Inspector Lee St Quinton said: “I am immensely proud of the work our officers do day in day out, this incident shows the professionalism and dedication our officers have and the levels they will go to, to protect others from harm. To be recognised by the RHS is a true honour and something that is well deserved.

“Our officers would say that running into the freezing cold sea at Skegness - without hesitation in the pitch black of night - to help save the life of a woman in need of help, is just part of the job.

“Some people think the job of a police officer is all about sirens, blue flashing lights and arrests, but there’s so much more to it.

"It’s about being in the right place, at the right time, to help people who most need us, and doing things that change the lives of others.

“It’s running into the darkness into chest-high, cold water in Skegness, without stopping to think, to save the life of a stranger.

"And we think that is more than just part of the job.”

All of the officers involved have also won the personal praise of Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Royal Humane Society.

“It’s only thanks to the splendid teamwork of the police and the alert from the asylum seekers that a woman had been seen in the sea that the woman was saved,” he said.

“The police did a magnificent job in daunting conditions. The sea was bitterly cold and it was dark so even finding the woman in the sea was a problem. But thanks to the drone she was spotted. But going into the sea in those conditions as the three officers who are to receive awards did, carried with it serious risks for them. Nevertheless, their only thought was to save the woman and they succeeded. They are true heroes and richly deserve the awards they are to receive.”

The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back nearly 250 years. Other than awards made by the Crown it is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.

It was founded in 1774 by two of the day's eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan. Their primary motive was to promote techniques of resuscitation.

The citation

A citation, read out at the awards ceremony, read: “The woman’s intentions were clear and opportunities to locate her were diminishing and the time frame to recover her safely was collapsing.

“The tide was almost high, the area was pitch black, the sea was moderate, and the temperature was around 3 degrees Celsius.

“Sergeant Watson and Constable Hine immediately entered the water and waded out to chest height, given directions by Constable Sharpe who monitored their safety.

“They located the woman and pulled her back to shore where Constable Craft also entered the water to waist height and assisted in pulling the woman from the water. Whilst bringing the woman to shore she was actively resisting and kept trying to go further out to sea. A water rescue is hard work in good conditions let alone at night, with no lights, a rising tide and in freezing water temperatures.

“The officers managed to get the woman back to the shore safely and she was given immediate first aid by the ambulance crew who were now at the scene.

“The three asylum seekers remained with the Officers and helped to carry their kit back to the vehicles where they were thanked for their prompt assistance. The Officers changed into dry clothing and carried on working to complete the remainder of their shift.

“The brave and courageous actions of all the Officers involved in this incident helped to save an extremely vulnerable person from harm.”