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Bishop Auckland policeman receives prestigious bravery award
A POLICE officer whose brave actions prevented a man from jumping off a 105ft high viaduct is to receive a national life-saving award.
PC Michael Banks grabbed the distressed man in a bear hug and pulled him away from the edge of the Newton Cap Viaduct at Bishop Auckland, County Durham, during the dramatic late night incident last May.
PC Banks had been attempting to talk the man around but, when it became clear he was determined to jump, the quick-thinking officer made his move, saving the man from certain death.
And, this month, the 34-year-old father-of-one discovered his courageous actions have earned him a Royal Humane Society award.
“I was not expecting it at all,” said PC Banks. “Police officers all over the country deal with incidents like this quite regularly.
"It is part of our job so I am very humbled and very grateful to accept this on behalf of myself and my colleagues PC Gareth French and PC Linda Foster who were with me on the night.”
PC Banks, who has worked in Bishop Auckland for seven years, said the man had responded aggressively when he took hold of him.
“He was very angry and upset and clearly had problems,” he said. “He became violent when I grabbed him and was making threats towards me.
“It was a difficult situation but I had my colleagues there to support me. I am very grateful for their efforts.”
Sergeant Jon Rowland, of Bishop Auckland Police, said the team were extremely proud of PC Banks.
“He is an excellent all-round officer and this is another example of him doing his job extremely well,” he said.
“That night he acted quickly and who knows what would have happened if he didn’t. “The man was very upset and could very easily have jumped given the mental state he was in.”
The man has since been sectioned under the mental health act.
The Royal Humane Society is a charity that grants awards for acts of bravery in the saving of human life and, also, for the restoration of life by resuscitation.
PC Banks will receive his award at a presentation ceremony in the near future.