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Off-Duty Officer Given Commendation for Saving a Child's Life in the Sea

Iain Spittal and PC Nick Wood

A heroic officer has been awarded a Chief Constable’s commendation at a ceremony held by Cleveland Police after saving the life of an 11-year-old boy.

PC Nick Wood, who was off duty at the time of the incident on Sunday 20th September 2015, was spending time with his family at Majuba Caravan Park in Redcar when he noticed a child running in and out of the sea alongside two adults as he walked along the shoreline.

PC Wood noticed that the child had begun to wade further out, and one of the adults accompanying the child was now waist deep in the water, shouting and beckoning the child back to the shore. 

The adults both appeared distressed and quick-thinking Nick realised there was no time to wait for assistance.

He instructed his partner to alert the coastguard and immediately waded out to sea. When he could no longer touch the sea bed he began to swim towards the child who was around 30 metres from the shoreline.

When PC Wood reached the child, he continually reassured him and had to keep him calm whilst taking hold of one of his arms and bringing him safely back to shore.

Shortly after Nick and the young boy reached the shore, the lifeboat and coastguard arrived on scene and provided medical care to the boy who was later taken to James Cook University Hospital suffering from mild hypothermia.

PC Nick Wood said: “I am really pleased to have received a commendation. My training has ensured that I am well prepared for incidents like this, however it is completely different when it actually happens in real life. It’s my job to look after people and to ensure they are safe and my main priority was to make sure the boy was OK, so I’m really pleased that I managed to bring him to safety and that he has now recovered from the ordeal.”

Also commended at Cleveland Police Headquarters on Tuesday 8th March were Redcar and Cleveland Cadets and other officers and staff from Cleveland Police.

Temporary Chief Constable, Iain Spittal, said: “This incident shows how brave and selfless PC Nick Wood is. He has demonstrated great integrity and leadership by saving the life of a child in danger. It’s important to celebrate the hard work of Cleveland officers, staff, and our partners. These awards ceremonies are the perfect way to highlight the outstanding work that they carry out on a daily basis.”

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, added: “It is important to highlight the outstanding work of Cleveland Police officers, staff and partners and I am proud to recognise their work as they deliver the very best service to the people of Cleveland.”


Posted on Friday 11th March 2016
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