Shield Security staff have been hailed for their quick and effective response when answering a call for help at a city health centre where a patient – who had two hammers in his possession – was refusing to leave.

Shield’s call centre reacted speedily when staff at the Elliott Chappell Health Centre, in Hessle Road, Hull, faced the frightening situation involving a patient with mental health issues.

Worried for patient safety in the busy centre, managers firstly called for police assistance, but were told the force were unable to attend at that time, due to a number of other ongoing 999 calls in the city at the same time.

It was then that Shield – who cover night shifts at the health centre and provide security services to protect the premises when they are closed – were asked if they could assist.

Two officers were sent to the scene, working closely with one of the on-site engineers, Daryl Dean, to handle the situation.

And it was Shield’s Matt Murrell – who has experience in handling difficult situations with revellers on the streets of towns and cities at weekends – who stepped to the fore.

Firstly sitting down next to the patient and chatting quietly, he then managed to calmly walk the man from the building, before sitting together on a wall and chatting over a cigarette until the police were able to attend.

“We really can’t thank Shield Security enough for their quick and effective response, for what could have potentially become quite a frightening and intimidating situation for the staff and patients at the health centre,” said Caroline Havler, Head of Estate Management at Citycare, which manages the centre on behalf of Community Health Partnerships.

The patient involved had seen a GP and had come out into the corridor area but not left.

He was sitting on the floor with a rucksack and had two hammers. He was clearly distressed, was not leaving, and was becoming intimidating towards others there, with the situation becoming frightening for both staff and patients.

Police were called, but as there were a number of other incidents ongoing at the time, they did not arrive immediately, and couldn’t guarantee getting there within a certain amount of time, so it was then that Shield were called.

Despite not being contracted to provide emergency response at the centre, Shield immediately sent the two officers, and it was Mr Murrell who calmed the patient down.

“Matt dealt with the situation very professionally. He wasn’t confrontational at all and managed to open up some communication with the patient to move him into a safe place in a very calm manner, Mrs Havler added.

“It really was a case of Shield going over and above what they are contracted to do.”

Mr Murrell, 22, whose day to day job sees him overseeing the security at thousands of premises across the region as he manages Shield’s 24-hour CCTV control centre, says it is all about making an immediate connection with the individual.

“A big part of training to be a security guard is conflict resolution and how to handle situations where people are agitated and potentially a risk of causing harm to either themselves or others,” he said.

“Often, people can simply not like the look of the individual who is sent to speak to them, so there is always an element of luck needed in that they will be willing to speak to you.

“I knew that the only chance of getting the patient to calm down and listen was to approach him calmly and get on his level. On this occasion, a quick chat and the offer of a cigarette was enough, and thankfully managed to calm the situation. He wasn’t intending to hurt anyone, and said he had his tools in his rucksack.

“I just kept him chatting on the wall outside until the police came, making sure the hammers and his bag were out of reach. I stayed with him until the police arrived, which due to the demands on them that day, was more than a couple of hours in total.”

Shield Security has been shortlisted for the ‘Customer Service’ Award in the Hull Daily Mail’s Business Awards this year, in recognition of many clients hailing it for going that extra mile, as have Citycare.

Matt’s work brought praise in the Hull Daily Mail, with his work highlighted in the paper.

Managing director Dave Frank said: “Many of our security staff are highly skilled at communicating with people who are distressed and have the potential to cause harm, and on this occasion Matt excelled in handing a very difficult situation, where there was potential for it to have got out of hand.

“Going into the situation knowing there was no police back up at the time, and no guarantee of any police officers arriving at all given the demand on them elsewhere in the city on that day, this was a very intimidating job, but Matt showed no hesitation at all and brought about the conclusion everybody wanted. He represented Shield impeccably and we are very proud of what he did.”

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