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Broken Wings

GMP Staff who talked a young girl down from a bridge is recognised for her bravery

Caroline Bolton

Caroline Bolton, a civilian member of staff who works in the Child Protection Investigation Unit in Greater Manchester Police South Manchester division has been recognised for her selflessness and bravery as she saved the life of a girl she found on the edge of a bridge above a motorway in February 2023.

Caroline was off duty at the time, on her way home, when she came across a 17-year-old girl who was standing on the wrong side of a bridge in Salford.

The young girl wanted to end her life, but Caroline spent 20 minutes talking to her and reassuring her. When the female agreed to step down, without any regard for her own safety, Caroline leant over and put her arms around the young girl to help her get back over the railings safely.

Caroline, who won the award said: “I’m so surprised to have been recognised for this because I know so many of my colleagues deal with incidents like this every single day. It was a really difficult situation and seeing her so distraught just broke my heart. The girl was getting closer to the edge, and I knew I had to act to help her.

“I just went into autopilot; she wasn’t much younger than my boys, so I just spoke to her like a mum. When she got back over the railings, she gave me the biggest hug and I remember the sigh of relief from us both when we knew she was safe.

“I had to let her know she wasn’t in any trouble, and she was going to be okay, there are options available out there for people who are struggling.”

Chief Superintendent Rick Jackson from GMP City of Manchester division said: “Caroline’s compassion and immediate response to a challenging situation has ultimately saved the life of a young girl in crisis. She was off duty at the time, she isn’t a trained police officer or negotiator, but Caroline acted with incredible calmness, professionalism, and integrity as a member of Greater Manchester Police staff.   

“Caroline acted on instinct, and I truly believe she made a brave decision which saved the life of a member of the public.”

If you have been affected by issues raised in this, sources of support are available via www.samaritans.org

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