Police stopped from rescuing woman from Avon

Published: Friday, 09 October 2020

POLICE officers were stopped from rescuing a woman from the Avon as the equipment was back at their station.

The officers were told it would be too dangerous to enter the water and would be risking their own lives, an investigation discovered, but had equipment been readily available officers may have been able to rescue the woman, Alan Tilbury reports.

HamptonFerryAvonGone missing

This occurred at Hampton Ferry in Evesham last year during a search for a woman who had gone missing whilst being assessed by mental health people.

Police told they 'could have saved' the woman from the river but life jackets were back at Evesham station, and they were not allowed to enter the water without them.

May have been saved

The investigation found that a woman in her 60s may have been saved if officers were able to quickly access life jackets and ropes and rescue her and it must review whether equipment should be more widely available to officers.

 A review of the police investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct found that water safety kits, including  life jackets and ropes, were not available to all response officers when needed and were not in all police vehicles.

It was recommended that West Mercia Police revised its risk assessment to consider the availability and distribution of water kits, including whether they may be carried in response vehicles.