A trio of officers have been praised after saving a woman who became stranded in the sea off Hartlepool.
The officers, from the Operational Support Unit, were called to a report of concern for the welfare of a woman at the Marina in Seaton Carew at around 7pm on Tuesday, February 9.
The report was vague and officers had to begin a search of the area to trace the woman’s whereabouts in darkness.
Sergeant Paul Johnson sent officers on foot near to Hartlepool Yacht Club and himself and PC David Ridgway began to search the Seaton Carew area, when they received a call from PC John Dixon to say he had located the woman, aged 45.
The three officers made their way to the scene and spotted the woman inside South Pier at the beach.
Officers used search lights to guide them to the woman and by this point she was up to her neck in the water.
The woman could not swim and the officers needed to act quickly to bring her to safety.
Sergeant Johnson located a nearby lifebuoy with attached safety rope and put this over PC Ridgeway who began to wade through the water towards the woman whilst Sergeant Johnson anchored him with the rope.
PC Dixon also entered the water to ensure that PC Ridgeway had a secure line back to shore.
PC Ridgeway managed to reach the woman, who was suffering from shock, and all three of the officers, who were now waist deep in water, had to work together to bring her out of the sea and to carry her to the police van where it was dry and warm.
The woman appeared to be suffering mild hypothermia and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Sergeant Paul Johnson said: “It’s not every day you have to rescue a woman from the sea, but it is part of our job to protect members of the public and we did everything we could to ensure we got the lady to safety. We are all pleased that the outcome of the incident was positive and that the woman is safe and well.”
Temporary deputy chief constable Simon Nickless said: “This is an example of how our officers are willing to put their own lives at risk to save the life of others. Policing is a difficult job but what makes me really proud of our officers is that they are willing to go above and beyond in difficult situations.
“Each of the officers worked extremely quickly in difficult circumstances and managed to trace the woman’s location with minimal information on her whereabouts.
“They worked as a team to save her life and worked quickly and professionally to ensure that they brought the woman back onshore to safety. I’m extremely proud of their efforts and it’s important that they get the recognition they deserve.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “It never ceases to amaze me the absolute professionalism and dedication of the people we have working for us at Cleveland Police.
"I’m regularly reminded of the outstanding bravery and specialist skills of our officers and on behalf of the public I would like to thank the officers involved for saving this woman’s life.”