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Tributes paid to an "outstanding" Hertfordshire sergeant

Family, friends and colleagues have been paying tribute to a ?much-loved and respected? Hertfordshire Police Sergeant who died on Friday 26 June after battling cancer.
Published - 16/07/2020 By - Chloe Livadeas

Sergeant Leah McDermott, who was 46-years-old, was passionate about joining the police from a young age, and her father had been an Inspector in Hertford.

She first joined the force as a call handler in 1995 and became a PC in 2002.

She met her husband Karl, a former Hertfordshire officer, in 2002 when they were working together at St Albans police station. They had two children together, 11-year-old twins Chloe and Abbie.

Karl described Leah as his “best friend, wife, the best mother and my everything”. 

She’s been described as a devoted mother to her twin daughters. Leah and Karl would work opposite shifts so they could  both spend time with their children and only had a day off together when they were away on holiday.

During her 18-year career with the force, Leah worked in Stevenage as a custody officer and a Safer Neighbourhood Team Sergeant in Bushey and Radlett.  Most recently, she was the Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant for Borehamwood and Elstree. 

Inspector Vicki Richards, Leah’s former manager and close friend, described her as “an inspiration”.

She said: “She was incredibly organised, motivated, knowledgeable and caring, whilst still maintaining an air of authority and strength of character immediately apparent to officers and offenders alike. Leah was an extraordinary person and an outstanding police officer who I have been honoured to work with.” 

“This wasn’t just her job, it was who she was,” Insp. Richards added.   

She has been described as ‘efficient’, ‘a great boss who wanted you to achieve your best,’ ‘hardworking‘, ‘compassionate,’ ‘dedicated’, ‘a multi-tasker’, ‘strict but fair and you knew where you stood with her,’ and ‘devoted to the job’.

The force said: “Leah joined the police to help people and her compassion was one of her many great attributes.  She would always go the extra mile to help victims, especially those who had suffered from domestic abuse, something she was passionate about putting a stop to.

“If she was faced with a difficult situation, Leah would rise to the challenge and never give up.  She would think nothing of working long hours to get the best outcome for a victim and would do everything she could to arrest an offender.”

Leah also found the time to be a school governor, a personal trainer and even ran the London Marathon in 2018.

A private police funeral with be held for Leah next week with limited family and friends due to the Covid-19 restrictions. The cortege will travel past Stevenage police station on Lytton Way where colleagues will be able to pay their respects. 

On the same day, the flag at police Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City will fly at half-mast as a mark of respect to a “truly outstanding police officer”.

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