Teenager talked down by police inspector

A TEENAGER who threatened to throw himself from the top of a 50ft radio tower was talked down by police inspector Mark Jepson from first floor CID offices.

A TEENAGER who threatened to throw himself from the top of a 50ft radio tower was talked down by police inspector Mark Jepson from first floor CID offices.

Insp Jepson, sector commander at Haverhill, was yesterday hailed a hero for actions but he played down his role in the drama.

The inspector who is a trained police negotiator, said he was just putting into practice the skills he had learned.

He said he was in his office when the teenager, who is not being identified, was spotted heading towards the top of the police radio mast just yards from the station.


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Mr Jepson added: "He had gone up there as a way of getting people to listen to him. Whether he would have jumped or not I don't know but he had threatened to jump. I think it was on his mind but I don't think he really wanted to do it. I was more concerned that he may have had an accident and fallen.

"I tried to speak to him from the ground but traffic noise meant we couldn't hear each other as he was 50ft up in the air. So I went to the first floor of the police station and into the CID office, put my head out of the window and I talked to him from there. I set about trying to gain his confidence and get him to come down. I was far more concerned he would inadvertently fall rather than do anything deliberate."

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Mr Jepson said the teenager had got to the top of the mast and he feared he would reach out to try and climb one of the antennae. However, he managed to talk him into climbing down the mast ladder so they could speak directly to each other.

He added: "I was putting the training I had into practice and it was good he was responding to what I was saying. When we did get talking I realised he was a nice lad – he was just a bit down and upset."

He said the teenager then agreed to climb down the mast's main ladder to the ground – the whole operation, which began at just before 9.30pm on Tuesday, took an hour-and-a-half.

Mr Jepson, who had fire crews with special cranes and an ambulance at the scene within minutes of the teenager being spotted.

He said: "I was very encouraged that he felt confident enough in me to come down. I'm not a hero – it's just about communicating with people.

"There are times when we get it right and persuade people out of a course of action. I just happened to be in the office and had a good team behind me. I'm sure if I hadn't been here the reaction would have been the same."

Mr Jepson said the mast, which stands in the grounds of the station, was not easily accessible but he had insisted security be urgently looked at.

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