Praise for Portsmouth PC who helped stop suicidal man jumping off 8th storey balcony

A POLICE officer who ‘went above and beyond’ talking down a suicidal man from an eighth-floor balcony has been recognised for his work in a six-hour siege.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 8:38 am

Portsmouth 999 response cop PC Khurram Masood was first on scene at an alleged assault in Northumberland Road, Fratton.

He raced up to the eighth floor at the block, only to find the suspect outside on a balcony, having barricaded the sliding door back into the flat.

PC Masood said his mind was working at 100mph when the man repeatedly climbed on top of the balcony, and slashed at himself with a broken wine bottle.

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PC Khurram Masood outside Hampshire Constabulary Eastern Police Investigation Centre, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

For two and a half hours PC Masood, 42, was alone with the man while the on-call Hampshire police negotiator on duty was alerted and on the way.

In those 150 minutes the city-based officer was doing everything he could to calm the man down, talking about football and family.

Now PC Masood has been recognised by the force negotiator team who said his actions meant the six-hour incident ended without a fatality.

He is the first recipient of a congratulations coin, a new method of recognising officers in Hampshire borrowed from American law enforcement.

Northumberland Road in Fratton was closed off by police on Sunday, June 13 during the incident Picture: Fiona Callingham

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PC Masood told The News: ‘It’s an amazing feeling that I have actually contributed towards somebody’s life.

‘I won’t say I saved a life - it’s such a big statement - but I was there at the right time and the right place.

‘I’m fortunate I have this patience and dealt with him and calmed him down and we got him down.’

PC Khurram Masood outside Hampshire Constabulary Eastern Police Investigation Centre, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Pressure was mounting during the incident with members of the public watching on, and one person was live-streaming the ordeal.

PC Masood added: ‘My mind was 100 miles per hour at that time. If he slipped or something like that, he’s going to lose his life. There’s no chance he’s going to survive.

‘Every time he gets on the railings I got some common ground with him about family or football to bring him down, or say “come down I can’t hear you, can you come closer”.’

PC Masood knew he had to keep the man safe until the alcohol started to wear off, in the hope he could then reason with him.

Police on the scene on June 13 Picture: Fiona Callingham

He added: ‘What I felt was that no matter what, the last thing I was thinking was the criminal side of it, that I need to arrest this person. I was thinking I really need this person to come down so I could dress his wounds and get him some help.

‘He said he knew that I’d arrest him. I said yes, I will arrest you but at the same time I will find you all the help in the world.’

The officer, who has more than four years’ experience, stayed when the duty force negotiator arrived.

Assistant chief constable Ben Snuggs, who was a police negotiator for eight years, praised his colleague’s actions.

He said PC Masood went ‘above and beyond’ and ‘performed brilliantly and helped save a life’.

The senior officer, in charge of operations, said: ‘The reality is when you’re in that moment there’s that person talking one on one with somebody who you know could jump at any point.

‘The pressure is on and I think to deal with that pressure, and to perform well and listen well and not say the wrong thing, but only to say the right thing, is a real gift.’

For help, call Samaritans on 116 123.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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