Cumbrian police officer commended for bravery

LIFE SAVER: Insp Ben Swinson receives award from the High Sheriff of Cumbria Diana Matthews

LIFE SAVER: Insp Ben Swinson receives award from the High Sheriff of Cumbria Diana Matthews

First published in News
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The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A BRAVE Cumbrian police officer has been commended for stopping a man from jumping off a busy M6 overpass.

Quick-thinking Inspector Ben Swinson put his own life in danger when he held on to the man who was ‘hanging precariously’ from the motorway barrier.

Insp Swinson, of the South Cumbria Roads Policing Unit, received his award from the High Sheriff of Cumbria Diana Matthews for his dedication and bravery in saving the man’s life.

Insp Swinson was just about to come off duty on July 21, 2012, when a wagon driver waved to him, making him aware of a man on the wrong side of the barriers on an M6 overpass.

He said: “He was swigging cider, popping prescription pills and was clearly agitated.

“It must have been about 7pm, it was summer and there were lots of families in cars underneath going on holiday, and I thought if he jumps off it would cause bedlam.”

The 34-year-old officer managed to call for backup and got a road block beneath the roundabout at Junction 40 while he talked to the man, who was swaying and started to slip off.

“I saw my opportunity to get hold of his arm and as I did he tried to let himself go off the ledge saying it was down to me now.

“I wasn’t prepared to let him do that, especially with people underneath, it could’ve caused carnage.”

Insp Swinson, who is a family man with three children of his own, had hold of the man’s wrist and arm and was in serious danger of being pulled over the railing himself.

He said: “It was quite a tense moment, and it was down to me. There wasn’t enough time for any consideration.”

Unable to reach his radio, two members of the public stopped and helped, grabbing the man and allowing Inspector Swinson to pull him over the barrier to safety.

The man was taken to hospital to be treated.

Insp Swinson was presented with the award at a ceremony at Cumbria’s Police Headquarters at Carleton Hall, Penrith, yesterday (Wed).

On receiving the award, a modest Inspector Swinson said: “We put our lives in danger every day, it’s just part of the job.”

High Sheriff Diana Matthews said:”They’re all so brave, and absolutely selfless. The public need to know they’re heroes.”

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