Middleton councillor recognised for bravery after stopping a man from jumping into canal

Date published: 31 May 2019


A Middleton councillor who prevented a man from jumping into the canal has been recognised for his bravery.

A Chief Constable’s Citizen Commendation for bravery was given to Councillor Phil Burke at a GMP awards ceremony on 23 April 2019, which took place at Hough End. He was presented with the award by Chief Constable Ian Hopkins following an incident on Monday 18 February 2019, involving a man who was trying to take his own life.

Phil was on duty as a Customer Service Representative for Metrolink at Dane Road Station in Sale before his attention was drawn to the man when a member of the public shouted across to him. They informed him a man was standing on a bridge wanting to jump into the canal from a bridge over the station.

As Phil ran to the top of the stairs, the man had walked down to position himself by the side of the canal where he was threatening to jump. The man was distressed and despite Phil’s attempts to verbally reason with him, he refused to move away from the side.

At this moment Phil decided to intervene and used a shoulder push he had been taught in previous work-related training exercises. This worked and the man was successfully kept away from the edge of the canal until officers arrived and took him into their care.

Councillor Phil Burke said: “Winning this award goes above and beyond what I expected, as I’m sure any other member of the public would have done the same if they had been in my position. During the incident my instinct to help another human in need took over all other thoughts.

“I have a fear of water and being so close to the canal wasn’t easy, but my priority was to get him away from danger. I tried talking to him but he wasn’t really listening and insisting he still wanted to jump, so I made the decision to use a shoulder push to get him to safety. I hope he’s now been able to get the help he needed.

“Receiving the bravery award from the Chief Constable was an honour but helping a member of the public was an award in itself.”

GMP Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “Councillor Burke went above and beyond his duties as a Customer Service Representative and while another member of the public called the police, he quickly assessed the situation before trying to help the man.

“He did everything he could and was talking to the man to try and calm and reassure him before taking decisive action to ensure his safety.

“Councillor Burke did not think of his own safety, he just saw a distressed person and knew he needed to help instead of walking past and carrying on with his duties.”

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