'I'm no hero', insists Essex police officer after saving two lives
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A police officer from Essex who helped save the lives of two people in three months has insisted he does not class himself as a hero.
Pc Andy Perry, 37, was involved in two separate lifesaving incidents in Harwich in September and December 2020, and received two commendations from Essex Police's Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington for his work.
In the first incident, on September 27, 2020, Pc Perry, Pc Paddi Hawkins and Pc Sam Bennett received a report that a person had attempted to take their own life.
When they arrived at the scene in Harwich – within eight minutes of the call – it became clear that the casualty was a 14-year-old boy.
Pc Perry, who has been an officer for 12 years, was tutoring Pc Bennett at the time as it was only his third day on the job.
Pc Hawkins and Pc Bennett started CPR on the boy while Pc Perry went in search of a defibrillator because he did not know how long an ambulance might be.
"Time just flew by. A helicopter landed and other ambulance services were there. It was all a bit hectic," Pc Perry said.
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"But seeing as I was the senior officer there, having spent the longest in the police, a lot of my work was managing the scene. Ensuring the staff were OK, and members of the public weren't coming anywhere near.
"The two officers managed to get a pulse back and he started gurgling, at which point we were told he was breathing on his own.
"So with our quick thinking, and medical attention we managed to save his life and I still see him today."
Just three months later, Pc Perry risked his life to save a drowning woman off the coast of Harwich.
Pc Perry and Sergeant Will Bowen responded to reports of a woman and a man in difficulty on December 28, 2020.
Without hesitation and with disregard for their own personal safety, the officers ventured out into the rough, icy water with only their torches to light the way in their search.
Sgt Bowen went to rescue the woman while Pc Perry headed out to save the man.
"It was pitch black and freezing cold already, without going into the sea, but I managed to get out where this guy had gone under and saw something so I grabbed it. But it was an item of clothing."
It transpired that there was only one person in the water, so Pc Perry went to help Sgt Bowen.
"I went to assist my colleague, who was already shoulder deep in water and wading out to collect the female. We both carried her in and up the steps onto the promenade," he said.
"Again, we were told that if we hadn't have got to her when we did, hypothermia probably could have set in."
Pc Perry, who now works as a children and young persons officer in Clacton, added: "I wouldn't say I'm a hero, and I'd like to think all the officers out there would have done the same.
"I try my best every day to make a difference to someone's life."