Student police officers recognised for bravery after saving woman from North Sea

Two student police officers who rescued a woman from the North Sea have been recognised for their bravery.

Pc Alexandra Rackstraw and Pc Andrew Curtis were awarded a Royal Humane Society Testimonial in recognition of their work saving the life of a missing vulnerable woman from South Shields.

Pc Rackstraw, 27, said: “It’s always a very difficult situation when somebody is reported as missing and the most important thing is finding that individual as quickly as possible – and bringing them to safety.

“I’m just pleased that the woman is OK – and that’s the result of some outstanding teamwork between so many officers and partners, as well as supervision who had control of the whole search.

“I’m humbled to hear that I have won a Royal Humane Society Testimonial. Andrew and I just did what anybody would have done in that situation – and I’m so relieved that we were able to help bring a positive outcome to the search.”

The pair were on duty in October last year and were among a team of officers tasked with locating the missing woman, believed to be going through a mental health crisis.

They tracked her movements through CCTV to the seafront and were first on the scene.

Seeing the woman had stepped out into the freezing sea, the Pcs waded into the sea at chest height, bringing her safely to shore.

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Despite getting soaked, they continued with the rest of their shift after a change of clothes and a cup of tea.

Pc Curtis, 22, said: “I joined the police to try and make a positive difference and help people – and along with Alexandra, we’re just so pleased to have been able to do that here.”

He added: “We aren’t in this job for awards or accolades, we do it because we are passionate about people – but I am incredibly thankful to receive this testimonial and would like to thank everybody involved for their kindness.”

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt said both officers showed “outstanding bravery”.

“They should be exceptionally proud of themselves and showcased the very best principles of Northumbria Police. I am therefore delighted that they have been recognised with this prestigious and deserved accolade,” she said.