Barking and Dagenham Pc saves woman from jumping off bridge

PC Steve Brown

PC Steve Brown - Credit: Archant

Quick-thinking Pc Steve Brown has spoken of the dramatic moment he rescued a woman dangling off the edge of the North Circular who had threatened to kill herself.

The woman was gripping the edge of the 45ft bridge in Barking and hanging above the busy carriageway when Steve got to her and grabbed her arms.

Steve had been on patrol in the early hours of March 9 when he received a call to say the woman had dialled 999 and made the threat.

Officers tracked the satellites used by her mobile phone to pinpoint her, and Steve and his colleague Pc Adam Provan headed to the scene before making their way to the top of the bridge.

After spotting them, the woman, who was in her twenties, starting shouting abuse.

“I removed my stab vest, epaulettes and tie to make myself a little bit more approachable and easier to speak to,” said Steve. “She shouted at me to go away and said she wanted to die.

“I told her I was there to support her and I didn’t believe she wanted to kill herself – that everyone has problems but I wanted to chat to her and help her.”

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The woman then lowered herself down so she was hanging by her arms into the carriageway.

“I could see there was absolutely no way she would be able to hold on for any length of time,” said Steve, “so I ran to her, leant over, grabbed both of her wrists and told her I wasn’t going to let her drop.

“By this point she was pleading with me to save her but she couldn’t get back up by herself.”

Steve couldn’t lift the woman alone but three colleagues assisted him in helping her to the safe side of the bridge.

She was later sectioned under the Mental Health Act after attempting to kick and punch officers, before being taken to hospital.

Steve, who has been in the force for nearly six years, told the Post helping suicidal people was one of the hardest parts of his job.

“It’s one of those calls an officer dreads,” he said.

“At the end of the day I’m just glad I could help.”