A courageous police officer who stopped a woman from throwing herself off a bridge on to a busy motorway has received a bravery award.
Constable Ian Ross from Forth Valley Division was one of 22 fellow officers recognised at the Scottish Police Federation Bravery Awards tonight.
His “incredible” efforts to save the life of a vulnerable woman who was intent on throwing herself off a bridge over the M9 motorway between Falkirk and Grangemouth.
The incident took place in April this year. Constable Ross responded to a call from a member of the public saying that a woman was sitting on the ledge on the outside of the bridge, with her legs dangling over the edge and holding on with one hand to the railings.
The drop to the motorway was nearly 30ft.
Constable Ross (45) tried to encourage the woman to climb back over but instead she slid further down off the edge, preparing to jump.
Without any thought for his own safety, Constable Ross leaned over the barrier and grabbed the woman as she let go.
Despite her struggling violently and trying to release his grip, he held on until back up arrived.
The officer was able to bring her back over the railing to safety.
Speaking prior to the ceremony, the constable, who has 12 years service, said: “The woman was pretty determined to jump and the only thing I could do to stop her from falling was to grab her and hold on for dear life.
“It was tense. She was struggling hard but thankfully back up arrived and I had help to lift her over the barrier to safety.”
Sergeant Malcolm O’May, who nominated the officer, added: “Constable Ross’s actions saved the woman’s life that night. His bravery and disregard for his own safety cannot be underestimated and he is a worthy winner of this award.”
The father-of-one received his award at a ceremony in the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh. The fourth annual awards held by the Scottish Police Federation to honour officers who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty
Andrea MacDonald, the federation’s chairperson, said: “Constable Ross faced a dangerous and potentially life threatening situation, which could have ended very differently. It is down to his determination, bravery and exceptional efforts that the woman’s life was saved that night.
“These awards are about recognising the incredible efforts of Scotland’s police officers. It is right that they be honoured for their exemplary actions, which go a long way in helping to keep our communities safe.”
The officers earlier attended a reception at Bute House, hosted by Humza Yousaf, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, before this evening awards ceremony.
Stephen Mann, chief executive of Police Mutual, which sponsors the awards, said: “We are once again reminded that outstanding bravery is being demonstrated every day in communities across Scotland. The winners are a credit to their family and friends, their communities, and the wider Police Service.”