A security officer at Watford General Hospital has been awarded for his courageous actions earlier this year when he saved the life of a woman who had discharged herself from the hospital.
Naeem Akhtar, 50, was alerted when a young woman in a mental health crisis had gone missing and rushed to a bridge on Thomas Sawyer Way where she had been seen and climbed over the railings to stop her from falling.
Naeem, father-of-seven who also lives in Watford, attended the police station with his son, Ibrahim, in Shady Lane on June 24 to receive the Chief Constables’ Award.
Under normal circumstances the award would have been given at a ceremony held at police HQ, however Watford chief inspector Matt Phillips invited Naeem to the police station for a socially distanced presentation instead.
The woman Naeem saved, aged in her 20s, had discharged herself from the hospital. Her family believed she was going to take her own life.
On arrival at the bridge, they realised the woman was on the wrong side of the railings and without a second thought for his own safety, Naeem climbed over and took hold of the woman to stop her from falling.
The woman’s family and Naeem’s colleague were on hand to help pull them both to safety just before police officers arrived.
Naeem, who has worked as a security officer for 12 and a half years, said: “I want to thank the local police commander and Watford police department for the Chief Constable’s award I received today. It was a most welcome surprise at a strange time we are all living in due to COVID-19. I sincerely hope the lady is well after getting the help she needed.
“I had no idea the police were considering me for this award, so it came as a complete shock. I can only express my sincere thanks again to the police for this recognition. I would also like to thank my line management team and also David Ore, the hospital trust security manager, for their continued support.”
Watford chief inspector Matt Phillips said: “Thanks to Naeem’s bravery and quick-thinking, this lady was thankfully pulled to safety. Consequently, she was able to return to her family and get the help she needed to feel better.
“Naeem saw someone in danger and did not think twice before helping them. His actions undoubtedly saved this lady’s life on that day. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Naeem and his son Ibrahim and congratulate him on an award which is truly deserved.”