Police officer Chris Madden has been praised for his quick-thinking actions which saved a man’s life.
PC Madden, community beat officer for Rastrick, was responding to a burglary in Armytage Road last year.
For most burglary suspects being caught by the police would normally be the worst thing possible - but on this occasion it saved his life.
PC Madden was following the suspect on foot when he disappeared at the back of premises on the estate where the River Calder runs.
“I started to search the area and couldn’t find him. I retraced my steps down the river bank and there he was clinging to some brambles,” he said.
“He was struggling to pull himself back up because he couldn’t touch the bottom and hypothermia was starting to set in. It was freezing cold and just after the floods so I dread to think how cold the water was. It took several minutes for me to get him out of the water.”
The suspect was taken to hospital and PC Madden was told that if the suspect had been in the water any longer it could have been fatal.
“The first thing I thought was I have to get him out but I also had to be careful because I didn’t want to end up in the river too. There was all these things running through my mind,” said the 34-year-old. “I had to take into account my own safety because if I had gone in we would both have been in trouble.”
PC Madden who has been in the force for eight years and lives locally has been awarded one of the country’s top national life saving honours, a Royal Humane Society certificate of commendation.
“I was just doing what I get paid to do,” he said. “The suspect when he came round afterwards in hospital was very thankful that I saved his life and I am extremely proud that I will receive this award as were my family.”
He also received praise from his sergeant Gary Walker and the inspector at the time Mohammed Nawaz, as well as Royal Humane Society secretary Dick Wilkinson.
“I think this case brings a new meaning to the long arm of the law. It was quite literally a life saver for this man.
“By the time he was dragged out of the water he was unable to move because of shock brought on by the bitterly cold water.
“If PC Madden had not found him when he did he could easily have been swept away and drowned. He was in a bad way as it was. PC Madden richly deserves the award he is to receive. I just hope the man who he saved is truly grateful,” said Mr Wilkinson.
No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the award, but it is expected to take place later this year.