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'Dementia friendly' cops give backing to World Alzheimer's Day

Kirklees Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team lead by example

Manager Phil Thompson and colleagues Kulbir Lally and Gaynor Strangeway who helped a confused customer at Sainsbury's, Shore Head, Huddersfield.
Manager Phil Thompson and colleagues Kulbir Lally and Gaynor Strangeway who helped a confused customer at Sainsbury's, Shore Head, Huddersfield.

Police have given their backing to World Alzheimer’s Day.

West Yorkshire Police are working to become a “dementia friendly” force – with Kirklees Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team leading by example.

Back in July PC Dave Cant and staff from Sainsbury’s Shorehead store in Huddersfield teamed up to help an elderly woman who became confused while out shopping.

Store staff saw the woman becoming distressed and called police. They gave her a cup of tea and stayed with her until police arrived.

PC Cant then befriended the woman and took her home.

Manager Phil Thompson and colleagues Kulbir Lally and Gaynor Strangeway who helped a confused customer at Sainsbury's, Shore Head, Huddersfield.
Manager Phil Thompson and colleagues Kulbir Lally and Gaynor Strangeway who helped a confused customer at Sainsbury's, Shore Head, Huddersfield.

The woman gripped the officer’s hand tightly and refused to let go, even as he changed gear in the police car.

PC Cant’s kindness touched people across the country and a post on Kirklees Rural’s Facebook page was seen by more than 1.5 million people.

Modest PC Cant, who lost his mum Pat to Alzheimer’s at the age of 64, said he only did what “any other cop” would have done.

He said: “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.

“I’ve got previous experience of dementia having cared for my mum, bless her, so I knew exactly what we were looking at.

“We’ve had dementia training at work, so it were clear what we were dealing with.”

A spokesman for Kirklees Rural NPT urged people to be more aware of dementia and said: “Little things make a huge difference when dealing with people with dementia.

“You can help by becoming a ‘dementia friend’ and having a better understanding of dementia.”

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