Police Federation

Awards nominee: Cheshire

Hero officers risk their lives to save drowning woman

PC Richard Connolley and PC Lee Brown

PC Richard Connolley and PC Lee Brown

Officers were dispatched to reports of a suicidal woman who had suggested to her family that she was going to harm herself.

CCTV showed her sitting precariously on top of the railings on the Handbridge Suspension Bridge. The officers promptly attended and started trying to build a rapport with the lady, while PC Connolley, PC Brown and other officers positioned themselves close by, out of sight so the woman was not distressed any further.

Attempts to build a rapport failed and the woman jumped from the bridge into the fast-flowing river. She began to struggle and quickly became lifeless, so PC Connolley decided to jump in, using a floatation aid that was stored nearby.

With the help of other officers who held onto the floatation aid guide rope, PC Connolley swam out to the woman, and gripped hold of her keeping her head above water. But the guide rope snapped, putting the lives of both the woman and PC Connolley at risk as they began drifting down the river.

PC Brown quickly waded into the river and was able to grab hold of PC Connolley and pull them both towards safety. The woman was taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia.

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