Four officers who rescued a distressed man who walked out into Morecambe Bay at Canal Head, Ulverston, have been commended by the Chief Constable for their actions.
The officers were put forward for the award after displaying remarkable teamwork and bravery, as well as a willingness to put their own lives at risk to save the life of another.
Temporary Superintendent for South Cumbria Matt Pearman said: “The general public may not be aware of how often our officers are called upon to help those experiencing extremely serious mental health issues. It is part of the unseen policing which is rarely publicised.
“However, I am extremely proud of the way our officers react to such situations. In this case, their efforts have undoubtedly saved a man’s life.”
On Friday, 18 May 2018, Police Constables Eric McKinley, Callum Lennox, Rick Harvey and Craig Stevenson were engaged in a search for a man who had been reported as a high-risk missing person due to concerns about his safety and mental well-being.
The officers were searching the sands by torchlight and located the man on the opposite side of a very wide and deep gully, a significant way from the shore.
The man was in a very distressed state and the officers were finding it difficult to get close to him.
The tide then began to turn and rise fast against the man who became overcome by the water. He was taken by the tide and the officers could see he was struggling to stay afloat.
Recognising he may be swept away with no chance of survival, the officers swiftly took action, linking each other arm-by-arm and stretching into the water. With the first officer anchored to the water’s edge, the fourth officer – submerged up to his chest – reached out and grabbed hold of the man as he was rushing down water, securing him before the officers were able to pull him to safety.
A waiting ambulance then treated the man by the water’s edge.
Temporary Superintendent Pearman said: “The officers displayed remarkable courage and teamwork to save the life of a man who was at genuine risk of drowning.
“It cannot be overestimated how perilous a situation this was and how potentially dangerous it was for the officers attempting to rescue the man.
“Their actions that day were a credit to the Constabulary and have rightly been recognised by the Chief Constable.”