Two Merseyside Police officers who risked their safety to stop a young woman from plunging to her death from a perilous rooftop have been nominated for The National Police Bravery Awards.
PCs Liz Cargill and Mark Wilson, from Speke Division, were responding to reports of youths causing a disturbance at The Convent, a dilapidated old building in Liverpool, on 4 May 2019.
On arrival, the officers could see two young women and a man on the roof of the four-storey high building. One of the women was hysterical and was sat right on the edge of the roof, her feet dangling over the side.
She began threatening to throw herself off the rickety building, and despite the poor condition of the building, the officers knew they would have to get onto the roof to prevent her from taking her own life.
The building was so damaged by a recent fire that the officers had to traverse two-foot-wide beams and roof joints with a dangerous drop either side of them just to get to the woman.
She was becoming increasingly agitated at this stage, and the officers genuinely feared she was about to fling herself off the high rooftop. They managed to edge ever closer to her and kept talking to her to try and keep her calm before deciding to grab her and haul her to safety.
Rather than accepting the officers’ help, the woman started to struggle, putting them at risk of all falling to their deaths. The officers managed to get a rapport going with her, but she continued to burst into aggressive episodes making her rescue extremely perilous.
More officers had by now arrived on the scene, but it was clearly just too dangerous for them to try and join in the rescue and the decision was made to call in Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.
With their help, the officers managed to get the woman under control and get her safely down from the damaged roof.
She was detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
Merseyside Police Federation Chairman Tony Fairclough said the officers went “above and beyond”to get the woman to safety.
“Despite the hazardous and dangerous conditions in which Liz and Mark were operating, and the sadly hysterical nature of the woman, the officers managed to remain calm and professional throughout,” he said.
“What an incredibly brave thing to do – the duo had a lot to contend with to save this lady’s life and safeguard this vulnerable woman in what was obviously a significant time of crisis in her life. Liz and Mark also had to protect themselves from the obvious danger which they managed to do with policing brilliance.
“It once again shows how police officers do much more than fight crime. We are extremely proud of them.”
The National Police Bravery Awards honour officers from across England and Wales who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.
As nominees, PCs Cargill and Wilson will attend a prestigious daytime reception and evening awards ceremony in London in July 2021. The 2020 event – the 25th National Police Bravery Awards – had been scheduled to take place this past summer but had to be cancelled due to Coronavirus.
Nevertheless the Police Federation of England and Wales wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the fantastic work of all 94 nominees from across the country online from today (September 24).
John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “We are incredibly proud of all the nominees from across England and Wales. The actions of these courageous officers provide a small snapshot of the amazing work our colleagues carry out day in and day out.
“PC Liz Cargill and PC Mark Wilson showed incredible bravery in this incident. Police officers don’t just fight crime, they save lives and protect people – and that’s just what these fantastic officers did. They are a credit to policing and we are very proud of them.
“As a Police Federation, we wanted to make sure these brave officers received the recognition they deserve in the year their actions were meant to be celebrated. And we look forward to seeing them all in person – and revealing regional and national winners – when the time is right in 2021.”
The National Police Bravery Awards are sponsored by Police Mutual.
John Perks, Chief Executive Officer of Police Mutual, said: “Police Mutual is, as always, proud to be supporting the National Police Bravery Awards in its 25th anniversary year. Despite having to postpone the original ceremony, the officers’ courage has never been forgotten – they all showed commitment to keeping the public safe in the most demanding of circumstances.