Three police officers have been given a Chief Constable’s Commendation for saving a woman’s life after she went into the sea in Brighton in the early hours of an October morning.
Sergeant Jonathan Hartley, PC Peter Swash and PC Patrick Lewsey were congratulated by Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith at a ceremony at the Royal Pavilion this afternoon (Monday 29 February).
Superintendent Jayne Dando said that the three men responded to a report of a woman in the sea near the Brighton Wheel at 3.30am on Saturday 3 October last year.
Superintendent Dando said that they could see the woman floating five to ten metres from the beach despite the dark night.
She said: “They entered the water and pulled the woman on to the beach.
“She did not come quietly and was fighting all the way. She was a heavy weight and she was naked so this was not an easy task.
“She didn’t want to be rescued but they managed to get her to safety away from the sea.
“Then they immediately started to try to warm her up and maintain her dignity, taking off their own jackets – all while being physically and verbally abused.
“When an ambulance arrived, they confirmed that this female was hypothermic and in need of medical treatment.
“There is little doubt that the officers’ selfless actions saved her life.”
She said that the woman was “intoxicated and intent on taking her own life”. She was later detained under the Mental Health Act for her own safety but kept fighting even when she was taken to hospital.
Superintendent Dando said that the woman was later “sectioned” and taken to Mill View Hospital, in Hove.
The three men were among almost two dozen Sussex Police officers, staff and members of the public recognised for their bravery and courage, dedication to duty and outstanding service.
Brighton and Hove mayor Lynda Hyde and the High Sheriff of East Sussex Juliet Smith handed out awards and praised the recipients.
The High Sheriff said that she was incredibly impressed by those receiving awards and thanked them by saying: “It’s a great privilege to be here. We are deeply indebted to you.”
Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp, the divisional commander in Brighton and Hove, said: “We can’t say thank you by giving people bonuses (but) the awards that are being given out today aren’t just given to anybody. Those of you who have received an award should be proud.”