Commendations for Essex and BTP officers who prevented bridge jump
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Two police officers have been awarded commendations for saving a young woman who attempted to throw herself from a bridge.
Sergeant Lauren Sharland of Essex Police and Police Constable Tom Lunn of the British Transport Police were presented with their certificates by Deputy Chief Constable Andy Prophet in a ceremony at Essex Police headquarters.
PC Lunn and a colleague were driving along the A12 near Ingatestone last November when they spotted a woman hanging over the road from the bridge’s barriers.
They drove back up to the bridge and PC Lunn approached her as his colleague shut the road. She was highly distressed and initially unwilling to talk.
They were then joined by colleagues from Essex Police, including Sgt Sharland, who was more successful in getting the woman to respond.
“She just wanted to talk,” said Sgt Sharland. “I spoke to her for quite a bit, and she started to engage and gave us some information. She told us her name and talked about a band she liked.”
However, just as it looked like the officers were succeeding in talking the woman back to safety, she unexpectedly attempted to jump.
“I was one side of her and Tom was the other,” said Sgt Sharland. “All of a sudden she said ‘I’m sorry' and leapt forward. We grabbed hold of her, and with the help of other officers around us, we helped to pull her back over.”
“It was lucky she said the word ‘sorry’ beforehand as that made us clock (that she was going to jump),” said PC Lunn. “I grabbed her clothing first and we both screamed for help. It felt like a lifetime on that bridge but when you watch the footage back, it’s moments.”
“It’s lucky we’re both quite tall and have long arms,” added Sgt Sharland. “She would have been seriously injured.”
The young woman was attended to by a paramedic at the scene.
Sgt Sharland and PC Lunn were commended for their “compassion and quick-thinking actions that saved the life of a vulnerable person”.
“It’s a surprise but it’s nice to be recognised, especially for our families,” said Sgt Sharland.
“To get that recognition from another force for our everyday work is a good feeling,” added PC Lunn.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Chief Constable Andy Prophet said:
“This was an extremely dangerous situation that would have come to a tragic end if it were not for the decisive actions of Sgt Sharland and PC Lunn.
“Their quick-thinking saved the life of a vulnerable woman and they should both be incredibly proud.
“This was exceptional police work.”
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