Commendation for off-duty police officer who saved kids’ drifting dinghy at Budleigh Salterton

Police whose exceptional bravery saved lives in Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton have been presented with awards in recognition of their efforts.

Devon and Cornwall Police officers, staff and volunteers were praised at a ceremony to celebrate ‘exceptional policing’ across Exeter, East and Mid Devon.

A Chief Superintendent Commendation was presented to an off-duty Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who rescued two children seen drifting out to sea in a dinghy off Budleigh Salterton.

Police officers were awarded Superintendent’s Certificates for saving the life of a drunk woman, pulling her to safety from the edge of 250ft cliffs in Exmouth and rescuing a distressed woman from the sea who was seen up to her neck in water off Exmouth.

The commendations were presented by Chief Superintendent Sam de Reya and Superintendent Matthew Lawler following nominations from officers, staff and partners.

Chief Superintendent Sam de Reya said it was ‘humbling’ to able to present the awards.

She said: “The passion, resilience and dedication displayed by those recognised at the awards is outstanding.

“Our people work tirelessly to prevent crime, detect offences, support victims and bring offenders to justice and it is right we recognise them for their contribution to keeping our communities safe.”

PCSO Nic Unsworth received a Chief Superintendent Commendation.

Devon and Cornwall Police’s citation said:

On August 8, 2018, while off duty, Nic was enjoying a beach day with his family at the River Otter Beach, Devon.

As the afternoon turned to early evening, it became apparent that something was going wrong; there were two children in a dinghy in the sea, which appeared to be rapidly drifting out.

People on the beach had made their way into the sea, which was becoming choppier as the wind was picking up.
There was a sense of panic starting to develop as people came to realise that the two children in the dinghy were in danger.

Without hesitation, Nic took to his canoe and entered the water.

Competing with a significant current, Nic made good speed to get to the children, exerting considerable effort.

Once there he was able to calm the children, give them clear instructions and bring them safely back to the shore.

Such action is characteristic of Nic’s selflessness; a quality which he has displayed in abundance in his many years of police service.

PC James Dalley, PC Daniel Toomey, PC Mark Edwards each received Superintendent’s Certificates.

The Devon and Cornwall Police citation said:

PC Dalley, PC Toomey, and PC Edwards came to the aid of a colleague who was in the process of pulling a heavily intoxicated female from the edge of 250ft cliffs in Exmouth.

The woman was there with the intention of ending her life.

Without any regard for their own personal safety, the officers moved beyond the area of safety and helped their colleague pull her safely from the edge.

Despite the woman violently resisting on the edge of the cliff, they acted without fear, successfully bringing the female back from the edge.

Their brave actions, professionalism and intervention saved the woman’s life.

Also awarded a Superintendent’s Certificate was PC Christopher Warfield.

The police citation said:

PC Warfield attended a report of a distressed female in the water at Exmouth seafront on the evening of September 28, 2018.

Upon arrival PC Warfield and other officers located a pile of clothes opposite the Premier Inn hotel.

Officers then saw a female in the water up to her neck. It was clear that the female was not in a clear state of mind and refused to come out of the water.

There were no RNLI units present. Officers were concerned that the female would be swept away be the strong currents if they did not take immediate action.

PC Warfield then removed his personal protective equipment and entered the water to rescue the female.

The female resisted being brought to shore but PC Warfield managed to get her back on dry land.

An ambulance arrived to treat the female and she was subsequently arrested for assaulting another officer.

PC Warfield displayed tremendous bravery and conduct during this challenging incident.

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