Avon and Somerset - saved suicidal man

PC Green (left) and PC Middleton

PC Green (left) and PC Middleton

Two Bristol-based officers have been nominated for a national Police Bravery Award, after they put their own lives at risk to stop a suicidal man jumping from a cliff.

On 23 October 2016, PCs Thomas Green and Timothy Middleton responded to calls of a man on the wrong side of the safety railings, threatening to jump. When they arrived, they saw the man close to the cliff edge, on a small patch of grass.

The man was sobbing hysterically, and the officers assessed the situation, aware that the cliff dropped more than 300ft straight down. The man was hugging a female, appearing to the officers as if he were saying goodbye.

Familiar with the surroundings, the officers knew there were serious risks if they crossed the safety barrier – there was little room to the cliff edge, and it was, dark, damp and slippery. They could see too the man was larger than them both and they were concerned it would be a struggle if they had to restrain him.

Despite all this, the officers wanted to prevent the man jumping to his death, so moved quietly and slowly over the railing. They positioned themselves between the man and the cliff edge and stood for a few minutes assessing the situation, careful not to scare him. When he looked up, seeing them, he lunged towards them, and the edge, preparing to jump.

The officers struggled with him, aware they were getting dangerously close to the edge of the cliff, literally fighting for their lives. They managed to wrestle him back to the railings, but being larger than the officers it was difficult to hold him there. PC Green continued to struggle, alone, with the man, who head-butted him hard. It was almost five minutes before back-up arrived and with the help of the other officers they were able to drag the man over the railings to safety. He was detained under the Mental Health Act.

Vince Howard, Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation said: “These officers have shown true bravery, and represent all that is good about the police service. They placed their own lives in danger, in order that they might be able to save the life of another, well done to them.”

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