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Police officers praised for saving girl on bridge above M40

PCs Matthew Huard and Victoria Justice, Sgt Andy Fiddler, and Ch Insp Henry Parsons Image copyright TVP Federation
Image caption PCs Matthew Huard and Victoria Justice, Sgt Andy Fiddler, and Ch Insp Henry Parsons all helped rescue a girl who was hanging onto the ledge of a bridge above the M40 in Oxfordshire

Four police officers will receive an award for saving the life of a schoolgirl who was teetering on the edge of a bridge above a motorway.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) was called after reports that a girl from a school in South Oxfordshire had climbed onto the edge of a bridge above the M40.

The girl would not speak to police, so officers and firefighters had to grab her and carry her to safety.

They will receive the TVP Federation Bravery Award on 28 February.

PCs Victoria Justice and Matthew Huard, Sgt Andy Fiddler and Ch Insp Henry Parsons were the first people on the scene to help the teenager in January 2018.

Sgt Fiddler saw stationary vehicles on the bridge as the girl clung on to the railings, perched on the thin ledge facing the motorway traffic beneath the bridge.

'Had to act'

The girl would not speak to teachers at the scene, so Sgt Fiddler worked to close off the road and the motorway.

"You almost go into a robotic mode in you response," he said.

"She was getting closer and closer to the edge so we knew we had to act."

Then Ms Justice and Mr Huard, alongside Mr Parsons and firefighters, devised a plan to get the girl to safely.

They crouched behind a vehicle before rushing to grab the schoolgirl and pull her off the ledge.

Ms Justice said: "We had to try and make her understand she wasn't in any trouble.

"You can't just go and grab someone particularly on the bridges because if it all goes wrong, there's safety issues for us.

"It's quite surprising to win an award, because we do stuff like that all the time."

TVP Federation chairman Craig O'Leary said the officers dealt with the situation "extremely delicately and with absolute professionalism".

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