Harlow police officer awarded for act of bravery

Crime / Thu 9th Sep 2021 at 07:50am

A HARLOW police officer who courageously saved a woman as she perched precariously above railway lines has won an Essex Police Federation Bravery Award.

Temp Inspector Tony Short could have easily injured himself in the incident – and also risked being pulled and dragged down onto the tracks with the lady.

He has been hailed a hero for his brave actions in holding onto her and saving her life.

The officer attended the call to Epping Railway Station in January 2018 after reports were received of a woman threatening to throw herself off the bridge.

On arrival, Temp Insp Short could see the woman was clearly agitated and upset and was crying. She told him she intended to jump from the bridge.

As the officer approached, she disappeared over the bridge onto another ledge.

Realising he had to act quickly, Temp Insp Short managed to get hold of the woman by her hair to stop her falling onto the live railway tracks below.

Clinging on to her, the officer realised the only way he was going to get her back onto the bridge was by grabbing her and lifting her over the railings.

Incredibly, he summoned the strength to do so and stayed with her until further assistance arrived.

The woman was taken to hospital for a mental health assessment and made a full recovery.

Temp Insp Short said he was worried about how he was going to manage the situation, especially as he was on his own.

“She was threatening to jump if anybody came near her, so I was trying to keep members of the public away, and unfortunately I was distracted by one of them trying to get to her, and when I looked she’d disappeared,” he said.

“I thought she’d jumped at that point, so I went onto the bridge, and she’d dropped onto another ledge. When she saw me, she did actually jump, but I managed to grab her by her hair. It was really difficult because she was starting to pull me over the bridge.

“I was terrified that I was going to have to let her go because otherwise, we were both going to go, but I managed to pull her up and I think it was a good couple of minutes before help arrived.”

His colleagues in Essex Police would have done exactly the same in his situation, Temp Insp Short said.

“Genuinely, I was very surprised to be nominated. I thought some people have done much braver things. Anybody would have done the same as me that night and I feel like probably someone else is more deserving.”

Essex Police Federation Chair Laura Heggie said Temp Insp Short had undoubtedly saved the young woman’s life.

“This incident just shows what police officers can encounter when on duty,” said Laura. “This lady was distressed and would have most likely seriously injured herself or worse if it had not been for Tony’s actions.

“It was a dangerous situation to be in, and he could have easily injured himself in the incident, but in the true nature of Essex Police officers, he put that to one side to help a member of the public.

“We’re all very proud of him.”

Temp Insp Short will attend the first ever Essex Police Federation Bravery Awards – which will combine celebrating 2020 and 2021 winners – this September. Overall winners for both years will be announced and they will go on to compete in the National Police Bravery Awards.

The Essex Police Federation Bravery Awards are sponsored by Uniform Mortgages.

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