‘Life savers’ – Brighton police chief praises vital work of quick-thinking officers

Posted On 16 Nov 2020 at 5:58 pm

Two people are alive today after quick-thinking police officers made vital decisions when all seemed lost.

And their responses won praise from one of the most senior officers in Brighton and Hove, Superintendent Rachel Swinney, who said: “To my mind, two lives were saved.”

The first incident happened at about 5am on Saturday (14 November) when police were called to reports of a man in difficulty in the sea.

He was close to the Palace Pier, having climbed on to a roof at the pier and fallen or jumped into the water.

Sussex Police said: “Officers reached the incident within three minutes of a call being made and found the man to be in the water about 50ft from the shore in choppy and challenging conditions.

“The officers gave the man advice and kept close watch of him until coastguard attended and brought him to safety.”

The coastguard dispatched the RNLI Brighton lifeboat who found the man drifting to the east of the pier.

They helped the man into the boat and took him ashore at Brighton Marina where he was handed over to a South East Coast Ambulance Service crew.

Later the same morning at about 11am police were called to Victoria Road, in the Clifton Hill area of Brighton, when a woman was spotted on the roof of a four-storey building.

Sussex Police said: “The ambulance and fire crews were on route to the scene when it was feared the woman may slip due to the bad weather.

“PC Brandon Willcox and PC Stuart Ellis, realising that they had little option but to act in order to ensure her safety, responded quickly with PC Willcox stepping out on to a high ledge supported by his colleague in order to be able to reach the woman.

“The officers worked quickly together to ensure their own safety and safely help the woman back into the property.

“The officers involved in both incidents have been commended for their actions.”

Superintendent Rachel Swinney said: “I absolutely commend the actions of our officers in bravely stepping in to ensure the safety of these individuals in such critical situations.

“These are examples of the kinds of challenges and difficult fast-time decisions our teams make on a daily basis and I am extremely proud of my colleagues.

Rachel Swinney

“We don’t know for certain what would have happened if these officers hadn’t have made the choices they did, but to my mind two lives were saved.

“Policing is not just about arresting offenders and preventing crime from happening. It’s also about being there for the people who need us most and making sure they are safe.

“I hope this provides the public with some insight into the kind of work we carry out on a daily basis to look after our local communities.”

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