Police praised after bridge incident

TWO police officers have today been praised for preventing a man from jumping from the Orwell Bridge following a tense 30 minute stand-off.The dramatic rescue unfolded yesterday afternoon after police were called to the landmark structure at around 4.

TWO police officers have today been praised for preventing a man from jumping from the Orwell Bridge following a tense 30 minute stand-off.

The dramatic rescue unfolded yesterday afternoon after police were called to the landmark structure at around 4.20pm after calls from worried members of the public.

It was feared a man spotted near to the edge of the bridge, which stands around 40 metres above the River Orwell, may jump.

Two traffic officers based at Martlesham were first at the scene and closed the westbound carriageway of the road before starting to speak to the man.

Traffic tailed back for around five miles but was flowing smoothly again by around 5.10pm.

As back-up in the form of ambulance crews and the coastguard arrived at the scene, the officers attempted to speak to the man but called in for specialist help from trained negotiators when initial attempts to talk him down failed.

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However, before the negotiators arrived and with worried members of the public looking on, one of the officers managed to grab the man and pull him to the floor while he was distracted.

One woman, who did not wish to be named, said the man was grabbed from right on the edge of the bridge.

She said “I was really nervous watching it.

“He was sitting right on the edge and it looked like he could fall at any time.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said a 44-year-old man was detained at 5.05pm and later taken to St Clement's Hospital in Ipswich.

The spokeswoman said: “These are very difficult incidents to deal with because there is a potential risk to life.

“These officers were not formally trained in negotiating techniques but were able to use their communication skills to get the desired outcome.

“It is all part and parcel of their training to deal with scenarios of a similar nature where you need to engage with somebody and get their attention.

“They acted in the course of their duty.”

n. Did you witness the drama? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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