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Bridge jumper foiled

PUBLISHED: 07:22 10 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:04 03 March 2010

TWO police officers have been praised for foiling a man's apparent attempt to jump off the Orwell Bridge.

The incident happened in the early hours of Saturday morning when drivers contacted police after they saw a man acting suspiciously on the famous Ipswich landmark.

TWO police officers have been praised for foiling a man's apparent attempt to jump off the Orwell Bridge.

The incident happened in the early hours of Saturday morning when drivers contacted police after they saw a man acting suspiciously on the famous Ipswich landmark.

Officers arrived just after 2.30am and tried to speak to the man, who was said to be in his 30s and from the Ipswich area.

As a precautionary measure, Harwich Inshore Lifeboat and Felixstowe and Holbrook Coastguards were all put on standby in case the man leapt.

The man was described as very upset, but was not believed to have been under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The two policemen spent over an hour trying to establish a rapport with him and talk him down.

Inspector Adrian Dawson said: "He was not very communicative with officers so the units backed off and called in professional negotiators."

But before the negotiators arrived, both officers saw an opportunity to seize the man and physically restrain him from jumping.

He was taken to St Clements Hospital in Ipswich and detained under the Mental Health Act.

"It was quite a decisive bit of work by the two officers that were there," Insp Dawson said.

"It was quite a long time to keep someone's attention away from doing harm to themselves and the officers did very well," he added.

The Orwell Bridge has been the scene of many suicides and attempted suicides since it was opened in 1982.

Insp Dawson said: "It does get more than its fair share of these incidents."

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