Four police officers receive bravery award for saving teenage girl on bridge above M40

Four police officers who saved the life of a schoolgirl who they found on the edge of a bridge above a motorway will receive a bravery award.

Thames Valley Police was called to reports that a teenage girl from a South Oxfordshire school had climbed onto a bridge over the M40.

PC Victoria Justice and Matthew Huard were joined by Sergeant Andy Fiddler and Chief Inspector Henry Parsons as the first responders.

After the girl would not speak to police, officers and firefighters quickly approached the girl, grabbing her and pulling her to safety.

The four police officers have now won a Thames Valley Police Federation bravery award.

Sergeant Fiddler had been driving back on the M40 when he saw stationary cars on the bridge. As he drew closer, he could see a teenage girl was perched on the thin ledge of the bridge and was clinging on to the railings.

The officer managed to get the motorway closed via the control room while one of the girl's teachers talked to the teenager to keep her calm.

He said: “It was a very, very difficult situation, but you almost go into robotic mode in your response. She was getting, closer and closer to the edge so we knew we had to act.”

Another police crew and firefighters then arrived on the scene as PCs Justice and Huard struck up a conversation with the girl.

Together with Chief Inspector Parsons, the officers and the fire crews devised a plan to aid the girl.

“It was a challenging situation,” PC Justice said. "Given she wasn’t talking we didn’t know if she was just ignoring us, we had to try and make her understand she wasn’t in any trouble.

“It was a plan put together with the firefighters and you can’t just go and grab someone particularly on the bridges because if it all goes wrong, there are safety issues for us.

“It’s quite surprising to win an award because we kind of do stuff like that all the time really.”

Thames Valley Police Federation Chairman Craig O’Leary said the officers had acted with incredible calmness in a very tense situation.

“There was so much for them to think about,” he said. “We are very proud of all of them.

“There was traffic roaring underneath the bridge on the M40 which had to be sorted out and given the girl was not communicative meant the whole situation had to be dealt with extremely delicately and with absolute professionalism."

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