May 26, 2022 8.30 am This story is over 24 months old

‘One of strangest incidents’ of police sergeant’s career featured in Inside The Force 24/7

12 proud years at Lincolnshire Police for Rosy

A Lincolnshire Police sergeant recalled what she described as “one of the strangest incidents I’ve dealt with in my career” after featuring in Channel 5’s Inside The Force: 24/7.

Sergeant Rosy Elkins has worked for Lincolnshire Police for 12 years and was among those who agreed to feature in the eight-part series, which was produced by Mentorn Media and filmed as the lockdown restrictions eased in summer 2021.

Episode four included an incident in which Rosy was single-crewed and arrested an aggressive man who assaulted a woman. She accidentally got sprayed with PAVA (similar to pepper) spray whilst restraining him in the police car and she faced a wait for back up to arrive.

Sergeants Rosy Elkins and Dan Cooper from Lincolnshire Police both featured in Channel 5’s Inside The Force: 24/7. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The Lincolnite went to South Park station to meet Rosy and her colleague Response Sergeant Dan Cooper (read his interview on Thursday), to speak about their time on the Channel 5 show and their work at the lowest funded police force in the country.

Recalling the incident, Rosy told The Lincolnite: “This is one of the strangest incidents I’ve dealt with in my career – normally you don’t get your evidence handed to you on a plate quite as I did.

“So this gentleman’s partner kindly came over and told me that he’s run off with a kitchen knife, and it was from a set and one of her best ones. And then with that, his behaviour changed dramatically, and I could sense it was going to.

“He then tried to run past me and run out to the car, and I knew there was nobody else to come because there had just been an assistance shout in town, so I knew I was on my own.

“I just kept him there as safely as I could until some help could come. But I’ve been doing this job for quite a while and I’m quite good at handling myself. I knew that I’d be okay until somebody could get there and I know that my team is cracking.”

Mum-of-two Rosy Elkins loves her job and is proud to be serving the city of Lincoln. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Rosy is unphased about attending incidents single-crewed and, when asked if she was worried for her safety when the man got aggressive, she added: “You always have a moment with all jobs where you go ‘this could go wrong’, but you’ve got to put it to the back of your head because otherwise if you’ve got that mentality of a one might lose then you probably will.

“Whereas, if you think ‘I can keep him here for as long as it takes for someone to come and help me’ then I think you’re more likely to be okay. I know my team are coming as quick as they can and they’re going to help me out.”

Rosy also isn’t the only person to accidentally get sprayed with PAVA. In other episodes during the eight-part series other officers sprayed themselves by mistake.

She added: “PAVA is a fantastic tool for evening things up. So in the incident where I used PAVA, the gentleman was a lot taller than me and a lot bigger build than me, and one on one in a fight, he would beat me.

“So for me, you use it to try and even things up a little bit and make sure that I’ve got a chance of keeping everybody safe. In that incident his partner was just standing across the road from us, and obviously I was concerned for her safety as well as my own.

“But unfortunately, once you’re close quarters and using it, it’s a bounce back. So it gets into the atmosphere around you and it can bounce back onto you, and it really does sting… it is particularly painful but it is a fantastic piece of kit that we wouldn’t want to be without.”

Sergeant Rosy Elkins inside a police car. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Reporter Joseph Verney spent time with Sergeants Rosy Elkins and Dan Cooper South Park Police Station in Lincoln. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Rosy feels the television show portrayed Lincolnshire Police “in a really good light” and she felt proud to be among the female officers featured, alongside colleagues including Nicky Duke, Chloe Barnett, and Amy Burnett.

“I think it’s fantastic and it’s really showing that you don’t have to be a six foot four, burly Dan Cooper of a man to do this job,” she joked. “There’s a lot more skills that are required to be a really good police officer.

“We’ve got some cracking female police officers and it makes me proud to work among and with them.

“Hopefully someone will see what we’ve done on TV and think, actually that is the job for me and I want to join.

“Get an application in because it really is the best job going and even after 12 years I still love it every day.”

Rosy spoke about how much she loves her job at Lincolnshire Police. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

It is a big balancing act for the mum-of-two who has to juggle childcare and her shifts, and sometimes give up rest days or annual leave to help the cause at work, even at Christmas and New Year, but “you make it work because it’s the job I want to do,” said Rosy.

When asked if she would like to be in more episodes if a third series was to be commissioned in the future, Rosy said: “Yes probably. My daughter is nine and she’s asked me what I do for a living and there’s no way you can describe to a nine-year-old what you do.”

Rosy said having cameras follow them around was “strange” at first, but then “instinct took over” as they responded to incidents. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Rosy added: “I wouldn’t normally let her watch anything on TV with swearing and fighting, but I’ve let her sit and watch the episode that I’m in and she absolutely loved it.

“She now understands what I do. When I come home and I’m tired, and I’ve got bruises down my arms and PAVA on my skin, she now understands what’s probably happened leading up to that.

“I am proud that I can show my family what I do and they sort of understand a bit more of what I’m putting myself forward to do each day and what my job actually means rather than just ‘oh, I’m a police officer’.”