A Cleveland Police officer, who negotiated with a man on a 100ft rooftop while standing on a fire brigade platform before grabbing the man to stop him falling - has been nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards.
On the night of 30 September 2021, a man who had been an inpatient in James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough left the hospital after treatment and immediately climbed onto the hospital roof.
Cleveland Police Insp Fraser Wilson was among the team sent to negotiate with the man to come down. The team knew the man had jumped from high buildings in the past, causing only minor injuries, but this time the roof was over 100ft high with a sheer drop on one side.
The man walked along the ledge before agreeing to come down safely, but he was struck with terror and couldn’t move for several minutes, clinging to the ledge.
After 10 hours overnight on the rooftop and numerous attempts by the police to negotiate with him, a fire brigade platform was brought over from a neighbouring county.
Insp Wilson, a trained police negotiator who by that point had been engaging with the man all night, went up in the fire brigade platform along with a firefighter, who operated the platform direction and controls. Both were fastened with a harness so if they fell out they would not hit the ground, although they would be in a precarious position in the air.
By now it was around 8am, and after a period of negotiating from the platform at 100ft, the man agreed to step onto it to safety. Initially, he said he would just hold onto the outside of it, but Insp Wilson convinced him to climb in under the safety rail to be in the enclosed platform.
Insp Wilson shook hands with the man and thanked him, and within seconds the man had lunged under the safety rail to throw himself out to his certain death onto the concrete below.
Insp Wilson grabbed the man and somehow managed to get hold of his clothing. Between Insp Wilson and the firefighter, one had hold of the male’s trouser waist and the other held the bottom of his trouser leg. The man was suspended outside the cage and trying to get out of their grasp.
In the struggle the emergency isolation button on the platform was pressed, leaving the platform in the air with the man held by his clothing. After a while, the firefighter managed to release the emergency button and allow the platform to be lowered to safety.
Cleveland Police Federation Chair Steve Williams-Reader said: “Although this was a traumatic incident, the man suffered no physical injuries and without doubt the brave actions of Fraser saved the life of a vulnerable man.
“Struggling to save this man at a 100ft height after 10 hours of negotiations must have been terrifying, but Fraser showed immense professionalism.
“I commend his courage and resilience. We are very proud of him and he is a very worthy nominee The National Police Bravery Awards.”