Brave officers recognised at special police awards

PC Martin Cox who helped rescue a woman from the River Darwen in Walton-le-Dale.
PC Martin Cox who helped rescue a woman from the River Darwen in Walton-le-Dale.
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Five Lancashire police officers who rescued a woman trying to take her own life have been nominated for a Police Bravery Award.

Constables Martin Cox, Darren Edwards, Lee Brown, Helen Blackburn and Louise Pointer will be recognised at the 21st Police Bravery Awards on July 14.

PC Lee Brown who helped rescue a woman from the River Darwen in Walton-le-Dale.

PC Lee Brown who helped rescue a woman from the River Darwen in Walton-le-Dale.

The awards honour and recognise police officers who performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.

Close to midnight on December 20 2015, the officers were called to the riverside near Chorley Road in Walton-le-Dale, following reports of a woman threatening to jump from a small ledge on a steep embankment.

PC Cox tried to speak to the woman to persuade her to come away from the swollen river, but she would not engage. A negotiator and paramedic arrived shortly after, but neither was able to get a response from the woman.

Suddenly the woman jumped into the freezing water, but clung to some bushes to stop from going under. The officers threw a lifeline to the woman, which she took, anchored by PC Brown, but the powerful current made it hard for her to hold on.

PC Louise Pointer who helped rescue a woman from the River Darwen in Walton-le-Dale.

PC Louise Pointer who helped rescue a woman from the River Darwen in Walton-le-Dale.

PCs Pointer and Blackburn arrived with another lifeline, which PC Cox tied a lifeline around himself and, made his way down the steep embankment towards her.

PC Cox got hold of the woman, but the dangerous current threatened to sweep them both away. PC Edwards entered the water and helped his colleague to support the woman, while PCs Pointer and Blackburn anchored the lifeline and supported him. Meanwhile, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service set up a proper rope rescue system to lift her to safety.

Due to the conditions in the rescue, PC Edwards contracted a chest infection leading to his right lung starting to collapse and was hospitalised for five days.

Rachel Baines, chair of the Lancashire Police Federation, said: “These five officers showed tremendous bravery under extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances.

PC Darren Edwards, who helped rescue a woman from the River Darwen in Walton-le-Dale.

PC Darren Edwards, who helped rescue a woman from the River Darwen in Walton-le-Dale.

“They put themselves at great personal risk and should be proud of their actions that day.”

All five officers have been awarded the William Garnet Cup for their brave act. The award is presented annually to the police officer(s) who perform the most gallant deed of the year within Lancashire Constabulary.

PC Helen Blackburn who helped rescue a woman from the River Darwen in Walton-le-Dale.

PC Helen Blackburn who helped rescue a woman from the River Darwen in Walton-le-Dale.