Caring cop is praised for helping vulnerable man during disorder at Boro vs Leeds match

Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.
Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.

A detective on duty at Boro’s home match yesterday has won plaudits from her bosses after helping a man frightened when disorder broke out.

Members of the executive team at Cleveland Police have joined members of the public who praised the actions of a police officer at yesterday’s football match between Middlesbrough FC against Leeds United.

Protecting vulnerable people is absolutely at the heart of what we do and incidents such as this demonstrate the professionalism of our officers.

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Spittal

Detective Constable Lauren Somerville, who has been with Cleveland Police almost six years, was on Windward Way and walking towards Sailors Trod underpass when a pocket of disorder between Boro and Leeds fans broke out.

Although there was no physical violence there was shouting and pushing and a man approached her telling her he was afraid.

“I immediately realised this was a vulnerable man,” said Det Con Somerville.

“So I told him to stay behind me and to hang on to me, which he certainly did.

“We walked with the crowd along Windward Way but I realised he wouldn’t be able to keep up so we held back and I reassured him he had done exactly the right thing by identifying someone who could help him.

“He was asking me about the helicopter which was overhead so I told him they were keeping an eye on us and keeping us safe.”

The pair then walked to the cross roads at Bridge Street East where the man had intended to catch the bus home but he remained afraid so Det Con Somerville who knew of the man due to her involvement on the committee of a club he attends, invited him to wait at Middlehaven where colleagues made him a hot drink and then she even took him home.

“It is nice to be thanked for what I did yesterday, but as a police officer it is just what you do,” she added.

“Any of my colleagues would have done the same.

“I just feel it’s a shame that people who cause disorder at the match don’t pause for a minute to think about how it affects other people who may feel extremely threatened and afraid.

“Although I didn’t personally see any physical violence, the noise and jostling can be intimidating to many people and I would hate to think that this man may be put off going to the match, having been a supporter for so many years.”

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Spittal said: “This incident showed policing at its best.

“Det Con Somerville placed herself between a member of the public who was vulnerable and feeling afraid and an intimidating incident.
“Yes, there will be those who say Det Con Somerville was only doing her job however I would agree with the many people who say she went above and beyond the call of duty.

“Protecting vulnerable people is absolutely at the heart of what we do and incidents such as this demonstrate the professionalism of our officers.

“I am extremely proud of Det Con Somerville’s actions and I wholeheartedly commend her.”