Award for police officer and mental health nurse to recognise their efforts in protecting a vulnerable victim in Berwick

A response officer and a specialist mental health nurse have received an accolade for their work when they helped to identify and safeguard a vulnerable victim of domestic abuse.

By Andrew Coulson
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 11:05 am

Police officer Andy Simpson and nurse Lisa Furnevel from the North of Tyne Street Triage Team were called to a report of concern for a man in Berwick.

They headed to the scene, but when they arrived both had further concerns for the welfare of another woman who was at the scene.

A partnership between Northumbria Police and Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, the team is a dedicated multi-agency unit that provides wrap-around care for those in mental health crisis and Andy and Lisa both have specialist training in matters of vulnerability and spotting the signs of domestic abuse.

From left, police response officer Andy Simpson, Detective Chief Superintendent Deborah Alderson and specialist mental health nurse Lisa Furnevel.

They suspected the woman may be a victim of abuse and used their initiative to discretely remove her from the scene, and spoke to her in private.

She then disclosed to the officer and nurse a history of domestic abuse and coercive behaviour.

The woman was taken to a police station for safety where she met with a specialist safeguarding officer to help support her, while PC Simpson went to the woman’s address and changed her locks – a gesture the victim hugely appreciated as she had wanted to change the locks for some time.

Lisa remained at the scene to provide mental health support to the man, who later received support for his mental health and was investigated by police accordingly.

Detective Chief Superintendent Deborah Alderson, head of the force's safeguarding unit, was so impressed with the awareness and compassion shown by the pair that she awarded them a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation for their efforts in protecting a vulnerable victim.

PC Simpson said: “To be recognised with a commendation is appreciated and very rewarding, but it's all in a day’s work to me.

“Protecting vulnerable people is what I come to work for and knowing you've helped save someone who may never have been brave enough to speak out is the real reward.”

Lisa added: “I feel totally overwhelmed and grateful to receive this. I would like to think I would do the same again in any situation and will continue to carry out my role to the best of my ability.”