Oswestry police officer commended

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Oswestry police officer commended

Posted: 12/06/2008 01:42:16

An Oswestry police officer has been commended for his actions in preventing a woman throwing herself from a jetty into the deep waters of a mere.

PC Kevin Balcombe drove to the Mere in Ellesmere during the early hours of April 7 after police received a distress call from an anonymous woman at a telephone kiosk in the town.

He correctly suspected the caller was a woman who had previously attempted to take her own life. Using his local knowledge he was able to locate her quickly.

The woman was stood on the edge of a jetty leading out into the Mere and threatening to jump into the water. She was very upset, crying and shouting, and unsteady on her feet.

PC Balcombe was on the bank negotiating with the woman when Sergeant Ben Tanfield arrived at the scene.

Sergeant Tanfield said: “The water at the end of the jetty is deep and was very cold presenting a real danger to anyone who might fall in. The jetty was made of sheet metal and completely iced over. Officers would be unable to reach the woman at the end before she could jump in and they would be in danger of falling in themselves.

“It was dark and there was no lighting available other than the spotlight PC Balcombe had brought with him. It was an isolated location, with other officers and emergency services some distance away, making any attempt at rescue extremely hazardous and very difficult.”

He said it was apparent that during the time spent by PC Balcombe negotiating with the woman, both had become very cold due to falling snow and wind.

“PC Balcombe displayed exceptional negotiating skills in speaking with this very distressed person. Despite the difficulties the situation presented, he had built up quite a rapport with the woman. He was at all times calm and measured in his tone, seeking to reassure the woman and encourage her to return to the safety of the bank. He gained her trust by not approaching closer than she was comfortable with.”

Sergeant Tanfield added: “At one point, the woman slipped over on the ice and looked to be about to go into the water, but PC Balcombe talked her back onto her feet. After some time, he succeeded in talking the woman back to the bank and continued in his counselling role, working to prevent any further incident.”

PC Balcombe has been awarded a Divisional Commendation for “professionalism, resilience and exceptional negotiating skills in difficult circumstances,” thereby preventing the woman harming herself.

The commendation certificate will be presented by Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Guy Rutter at a ceremony later in the year.

Permalink: http://www.thesite.co.uk/viewnewsstory.asp?newsid=2462

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