With just two weeks until the annual Scottish Police Federation Bravery Awards, today we continue highlighting the superb stories of our Courageous Colleagues from across the country who have won an award at the event on 30 November.
Ordinary people doing an extraordinary job. #ItsWhatWeDo
PC Scott Douglas was off duty when he saved the life of a woman trying to jump from a motorway bridge.
A Police Scotland officer who prevented a suicidal woman from jumping from a bridge has won a Scottish Police Federation Bravery Award.
PC Scott Douglas was off duty and driving his ten-year-old daughter towards the bridge that crossed the M80 at Condoratt in Cumbernauld when he saw a commotion on the road ahead.
Members of the public had stopped to help as a woman had climbed over the barriers and was being held back by another woman.
Fast moving cars passed below and if she had fallen she would have faced certain death – with potential carnage on the busy motorway below.
PC Douglas approached the woman, who was visibly distressed, agitated and shouting that she wanted to kill herself.
He grabbed her and pulled her to safety, where he had to restrain her to prevent her from breaking free. He tried to calm the frantic woman, comfort her and keeping her feeling safe. He held on to her on the ground for 15 minutes until on duty colleagues arrived and she could be detained under the Mental Health Act.
The Bellshill-based police officer said: “If she’d jumped off the bridge she’d have died, there’s no doubt about it. It’s one of the major arteries to the north of Scotland, through Cumbernauld, onto Stirling.
It was a busy morning and the traffic was horrendous on the road. Not only would she have died, but there may have been a major crash on the motorway as well.
“I took a hold of her and I’m saying to her, ‘Look it’s fine, I’m a police officer, calm down’. There was nothing stopping this girl, she was determined to get off the bridge. Although I was bigger than her, sometimes when mental health illnesses are involved, their strength becomes two-fold.
“So I had to basically manhandle her to the floor and I held her in what I can only describe as a bear hug until such time as the cavalry arrived from the local police office.”
The woman has since received Woman’s Aid, got a new job and turned her life around, according to the officer.
PC Douglas will attend a Parliamentary reception at Holyrood on 30 November and an evening awards ceremony where one overall winner will be named. This is the third Scottish Police Federation Bravery Awards, which honour officers who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.
Andrea MacDonald, Chair of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “There is no doubt that had PC Douglas not stepped in, the lady involved would not be here today and who knows what other accidents, injuries or worse could have been caused.
“People often think police officers’ only role is to fight crime. But they also step in during people’s most vulnerable moments and protect them from themselves. Let’s not forget that PC Douglas was off duty at the time, and had his young daughter’s welfare to think of. But he rushed in to help this woman and saved her life at no small risk to his own. We are all incredibly proud of him.”
The awards are sponsored by Police Mutual and the hashtag for the event is #CourageousCops.
Stephen Mann, Chief Executive of Police Mutual, said: “These annual awards are well-known for recognising inspiring acts of courage by police officers and members of the public. This year is no different, and we are once again reminded that outstanding bravery is being demonstrated every day in communities across Scotland.
“The winners are a credit to their family and friends, their communities, and the wider Police Service.”