Heroic policeman has his bravery recognised at national awards

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A BRAVE policeman had his heroism recognised at a national awards evening last night.

PC Neal Skinner, who lives near Emsworth, was shortlisted for the South East award at the 22nd annual Police Bravery Awards in London, but was pipped to the post for the regional award.

PC Skinner was nominated for the award for his response to reports of a man threatening to jump from a bridge near Langstone Harbour back in December 2015.

The man in question was a former soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder – when he jumped off the bridge into the icy water below, PC Skinner jumped with him, saving the man’s life.

He managed to grab the man by the neck and get to the shore where paramedics were waiting. The man was treated in hospital and PC Skinner was treated for cold shock.

PC Skinner, who has been in the police force for 16 years, said: ‘It was very cold and an experience I wouldn’t want to repeat in a long time. I became very determined and focused that I hadn’t jumped in the water to die myself.

‘I’m sure every police officer in my situation would have done the same.’

Speaking at the awards ceremony last night, Stephen Mann, CEO of Police Mutual, says that all the nominees can be proud of what they have done to help others.

He said: ‘Every nominee at this year’s awards has shown outstanding courage and thoroughly deserves to be recognised.

The awards were presented by Mark Durden-Smith, a TV presenter known for shows such as Double or Nothing.

HRH The Countess of Wessex and home secretary Amber Rudd were also in attendance on the night, which was live-streamed for people to watch at home.

Steve White, Police Federation chair, said: ‘It is an honour to be able to recognise these incredibly brave officers and thank them for their efforts.

‘They all exemplify the very best in British policing, putting their own lives at risk to protect others.

‘Every year I am blown away by their stories and how humble they are in receiving this deserved recognition. Every nominee is a credit to the police service and to the communities they serve.’