The West Yorkshire Police officer whose story of helping a woman with dementia has gone viral has spoken for the first time about the story that has wowed the world.
PC Dave Cant made headlines across the UK and beyond after helping the lady get home – and a few pictures of his caring deeds were posted on the Kirklees Rural Facebook page.
The Social Media post has been seen by well over 1.5 Million Facebook users, has had almost 40,000 likes, over 2,500 comments and it’s been shared over 6,500 times and been picked up by the press.
Particularly touching was an image of the woman holding Dave’s hand in his police car.
Dave said the incident was poignant for him as his mum Pat died from dementia – and it shows how police officers do much more than fight crime.
“That’s what we do, we look after people,” said Dave.
“It’s not just burglaries, it’s not just stabbings and robberies, it’s looking after the vulnerable, simple as that.”
“I didn’t do anything that the next cop wouldn’t have done – it’s what we do, cops up and down the country, they do this thing day in day out, look after people with dementia, disabled people, people who are vulnerable, it’s what we do up and down the country – we do it all the time.”
Response cop Dave, has been a police officer for 10 years and was a Special Constable in South Yorkshire Police for 13 years prior to that.
He remembers the call as being “run of the mill”.
Dave adds: “Sainsbury’s, had rung up to say they’d got an old lady confused, basically can we go and help her, can we go and look after her? I volunteered, got there and found the lady in the café in a confused state, obviously suffering from dementia.
“According to some politicians, all we deal with is crime such as burglaries and robberies. Unfortunately it’s a sad state of our times where we’re actually dealing with more and more people with mental health illnesses, dementia, and medical emergencies. Frontline cops, that’s what we tend to get sent to.
“I’ve got previous experience of dementia having cared for my mum Pat who passed away at 64, bless her, with dementia, so I knew exactly what we were looking at. Plus we’ve had dementia training at work, so it were clear what we were dealing with and it were just trying to find out who she was and get her safe and get her home.
“She had a little notebook in her pocket which we found with her name and address in, basically made friends with her, reassured her, as you do, cops, that’s what we do best.
“I managed to get her into the car and that’s where this photograph came from, she gripped me arm, she gripped me hand and she told me she was scared, she’d never been in a police car, so I reassured her, put her in the front of the police car and it was a spur of the moment photograph, just to show, if you like, what we do. It’s what we do isn’t it?”
Once back at her home, PC Cant helped the woman put her shopping away and put her flowers on display.
“We have a Facebook page at Kirklees Rural where we publicise what we do… and I think phrase is, it went viral – I think 99% of people were just praising us.
“It’s just amazing, it’s just unbelievable. It feels nice to feel valued, to feel supported, that the public are reacting that way. We’ve done good. All the bad press the police get, worldwide, and this is just absolutely amazing for people to show their support like that, it’s quite humbling I think.
“It’s a proud moment.”
Nick Smart, Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “Policing is a far more complex and subtle job than simply fighting crime. Policing has changed drastically changed over the past few years and 80% of our daily business is around protecting the vulnerable, which is not properly measured by the Home office.
“What Dave did show the compassion and skills needed to deal will all members of society and the judgement to “do the right thing”. This is what the majority of officers do on a daily basis. What Dave did is a fine example of community policing.”
Date posted: July 22, 2016