CCTV played crucial role in rescue

EYES in the sky played a crucial role in rescuing the suicidal man.

EYES in the sky played a crucial role in rescuing the suicidal man.

Armed with only a rough description of the man's location, police turned to CCTV for help.

The Emergency Services Centre, which monitors 65 cameras across Ipswich town centre, panned the rooftops and quickly issued the officers with precise directions.

This enabled the officers to be on scene far quicker and ultimately save the man's life - to rapturous applause in the CCTV control room.

After sending a live feed to Suffolk Police's HQ, the Ipswich Borough Council team had a front row seat for the extraordinary drama unfolding before them.

Debbie Devine, Emergency Services Centre manager, said: “We felt compelled to watch. We were horrified. We have seen a lot on CCTV, but we have never seen that before.”

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The man teetered on a narrow ledge on top of the Willis car park for more than ten minutes before lowering himself off the side, clinging to the railings.

Having tried to coax him back to safety, the two officers had no choice but to grab hold of him and risked being pulled over the side as the man desperately attempted to wriggle free.

Eventually, back-up officers arrived and helped pull the man back over the side.

Sam Elkington, who was also on duty in the CCTV control room that day, said: “We were wondering 'will he or won't he?'

“A couple of times it looked as though he was going to do it, but he thought twice about it. You have got to take your hats off to the officers.”

Ms Devine added: “The three of us spontaneously burst into a round of applause. It was an outstanding piece of work to hold on to this guy. We feel proud we were able to help.”

The Emergency Services Centre, which analyses a bank of screens feeding information from across Suffolk, played a valuable role in gathering CCTV footage during the investigation into Steve Wright's murder spree.

Their 24/7 role also includes acting as emergency response for vulnerable residents and borough council out-of-hours services such as water maintenance and road subsidence.

The team was also honoured when they won Operator Team of the Year in the 2007 UK CCTV User Group Awards.