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Police officers praised for saving man in distress on Orwell Bridge

PUBLISHED: 16:45 23 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:22 23 October 2020

PC Mina Fernandez and PC Sophie Mitchell saved a man's life when he was found on the edge of the Orwell Bridge in March. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

PC Mina Fernandez and PC Sophie Mitchell saved a man's life when he was found on the edge of the Orwell Bridge in March. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Two police officers have said they acted on instinct to save a serving member of the military in distress on the Orwell Bridge.

PC Mina Fernandez and her colleague PC Sophie Mitchell have been awarded by the Royal Humane Society Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPC Mina Fernandez and her colleague PC Sophie Mitchell have been awarded by the Royal Humane Society Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pc Mina Fernandez and Pc Sophie Mitchell, who work for Suffolk Constabulary, put their own lives at risk to save the young man on March 25.

The officers, who are part of the force’s Sentinel team, have been awarded by the Royal Humane Society for their actions that day.

They put themselves in danger by joining the man where he was standing precariously close to the edge of the bridge and managed to talk to him, persuading him to step away from the barrier.

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The officers, who are not trained negotiators, got there as quickly as they could, with blue lights on, after it came in over the radio.

Detective Inspector Mark Pollikett nominated his officers for the award Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDetective Inspector Mark Pollikett nominated his officers for the award Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The officers approached him and Pc Mitchell said: “I think there were a few moments we thought ‘we are physically going to get hands on with this guy’ - thankfully it didn’t come to that. We were certain he was definitely ready [to jump].”

Pc Fernandez added: “If you have ever been to the top of that bridge, it’s not a great place to be. It’s high, it’s intimidating.”

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After a few minutes, they managed to talk him away from the barrier and helped him to walk on shaky legs back to the police car.

He was driven to a safe place where he opened up to the officers about being in the military.

Detective Inspector Mark Pollikett.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDetective Inspector Mark Pollikett. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Pc Fernandez said: “Mental health is a stigma in his world. He just didn’t want anyone to know.”

He was taken to A&E and from there has been able to get support.

Detective Inspector Mark Pollikett, who nominated the officers for the award, has spoken with the man recently.

Pc Mina Fernandez and Pc Sophie Mitchell  talked the man down from the Orwell Bridge in March and got him help Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPc Mina Fernandez and Pc Sophie Mitchell talked the man down from the Orwell Bridge in March and got him help Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

He said he “genuinely owes his life to them” and wants to take them out for coffee to say ‘thank you’ when circumstances allow.

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Pc Mitchell said they were acting on “just instinct”.

She added: “You get home and you definitely think you made a difference and it reminds you why you joined the job. You do feel proud to serve Suffolk.

“You join the job to help people and he was absolutely in real need of our help and other people’s help that day.”

Det Insp Pollikett said they were “cool, calm and collected” and truly deserve the award and recognition.

He added: “I’m just genuinely really proud of both of them. They have clearly gone above and beyond.”

■ Need to talk? Call The Samaritans on 116 123.


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