Heroic officers nominated for national bravery award
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Two Merseyside police officers who saved a woman’s life from the top of a burnt out building are in the running for a bravery award.
Constable Liz Cargill and Sergeant Mark Wilson climbed onto the roof of the four-storey dilapidated building in Liverpool and talked the young woman out of jumping to her death.
The officers had to balance on a narrow ledge to reach her and at one point had to grab onto her to stop her falling from the old derelict convent in Woolton, south Liverpool.
The pair successfully built up a rapport with her until she calmed down enough to safely get her down with the help of other officers and specialists from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.
Their lifesaving actions will be celebrated at the Police Federation’s Annual Police Bravery Awards 2020 in London tonight (October 12th), alongside many other stories of heroism by police officers up and down the country.
Merseyside Police’s Chief Constable, Serena Kennedy, will be at the event with Constable Cargill and Sergeant Wilson, along with their families, and members of the Merseyside Police Federation. There will be eight regional winners and one overall winner.
Chief Constable Kennedy said: “Every day, police officers around the country do amazing, brave things to protect other people. They put themselves in harms way to stop people hurting themselves and others, and dedicate their careers to public service, often at great cost to themselves.
“When we sign up to join the police we know that’s what we are committing to, but it still takes my breath away when I hear about the staggeringly dangerous situations officers put themselves in to protect others.
“Constable Cargill and Sergeant Wilson put that young woman’s safety first, above their own, and acted quickly to get to her so she couldn’t jump. They were four storeys up, on a narrow ledge on the roof, and she was extremely upset. They worked as a team, acted decisively, and did what they needed to do to save her life.
“Everyone at Merseyside Police is delighted for them to get the recognition they deserve and regardless of the outcome tonight, they are heroes in our eyes and we are very lucky to have officers like them, and the thousands of others in the UK, who put the public’s needs first.”
Constable Cargill, a local policing officer currently based in Speke and who has been in the police 12 years, said: “The situation was really serious. We’d been sent to the building because we’d had reports of teenagers climbing on it and putting themselves in danger. When we arrived we realized it was actually a vulnerable girl who was hysterical, sat on the edge of the roof with her legs dangling over and she was threatening to jump.
“We decided to go up and had to be careful because the building was so damaged from a previous fire. She became more upset as we got closer so we had to talk to her, calm her down and then, when we were close enough, we grabbed her to stop her jumping.
“It was pretty scary and we were shaken up afterwards but at the time we just did what we had to do, and the main thing is that we got her down safely and no-one was hurt.”
Sergeant Wilson, who is a local policing officer in Sefton now having served in south Liverpool, has been an officer for 16 years. He added:
“The building was in a really bad state and had been a popular place for kids to hang out in, despite how dangerous the site was. Anti social behaviour was a regular occurrence there, but when we got there we realised it was someone attempting to take their own life.
“Our job is to protect people and we knew we didn’t have much time so we decided to climb onto the roof and talk her down. It was pretty high up and we had to inch along a two foot wide ledge to get to her. We told her who were, explained that we were there to help her and at first she calmed down. But then she got agitated again and looked to be about to jump so Liz grabbed her, and then I did, and we kept hold of her until help arrive and we could all get down safely.
“A lot of our work is helping people with mental health problems and it was just nice to be there in someone’s time of need and stop them doing something out of despair when there is actually help for them out there.”
Tony Fairclough, chairman of the Merseyside branch of the Police Federation, said: “The Police Bravery Awards show the world what amazing people we have who wear the badge and serve the public, and dedication, sacrifice and courage they display every day.
“It’s a chance to hear some truly inspiring stories of bravery and heroism from around the country and say thank to you to those officers, and to their families who support them, for what they have done.
“Liz and Mark deserve to be shortlisted for what they did in Woolton on that day in May 2019 and whatever the outcome, we are immensely proud and grateful to them and I hope the public are too.”