Police save bridge jump threat man

HEROIC police officers saved a man's life today after stopping him from throwing himself off the Orwell Bridge.

HEROIC police officers saved a man's life today after stopping him from throwing himself off the Orwell Bridge.

Officers and call centre staff with Suffolk police worked tirelessly to prevent a tragedy in the early hours this morning after the 35-year-old called police and threatened to take his own life.

The incident left the Orwell Bridge closed for around an hour between 2am and 3pm, before the Ipswich man was eventually grabbed by officers, pulled to safety and detained under the mental health act.

Inspector Bruce Gent praised the officers who went to the scene and the call centre worker who stayed on the phone with the man. He said: “A man's life was saved by police officers.”

He said the first call to the police control room was made by the suicidal man around 1.55am.

He said: “This was an incident that happened very quickly. A male person called us to ask if it was illegal to commit suicide.

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“Technology allows us to call the mobile phone back so the call centre worker called him. He [the 35-year-old] got a taxi out of town and went to the Orwell Bridge.

“When officers got there it looked as if the male was about to jump off the bridge. Police officers tried to approach him; they managed to keep talking to him.

“He was very clearly threatening to commit suicide. He was sitting on the wall looking at the lights.”

The patrol officers negotiated with the man before eventually being able to grab him and pull him to safety before he was detained.

Inspector Gent said the officers who managed to persuade the man not to jump were not specialist negotiators but had fulfilled their first duty of saving life admirably in high-pressure circumstances.

He said: “Police officers quite often have to negotiate and talk to people in distress.

“It is a very difficult situation. Clearly they didn't want to provoke him into taking the action but it has to be very balanced and safe when they deal with him.

“It is a regular event up there [on the Orwell Bridge] but many times it is simply an attention seeking act - which this wasn't.”

n Would you like to praise police officers? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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