SEVEN police officers have been praised for saving the life of a woman from the sea at Dawlish. 

The group of officers were recognised for their efforts by going into the water to save the 25-year-old woman who was in a suicidal state.

PCs Hayley Cayless, Dan Jenkins, Jefferiss Mathews, George Miller, Dariusz Pogorzelec, Sgt Mark Smith and another officer attended a call during the early hours of the morning in April 2023 following reports a woman had entered the sea and was about 50 metres away from the shore.

PC Hayley Cayless
PC Hayley Cayless (Devon and Cornwall Police)

Although HM Coastguard had also been alerted, there was no idea when they would arrive. 

So the officers on the scene knew they had to act immediately as the woman was in danger of going underwater or being pulled out further to sea.

In an effort to reach her, they tied two 25-metre throw ropes together.

With one end tied around his waist, Sgt Smith entered the water while his colleagues held the other end back at shore.

It became clear the woman was further out than first thought, meaning PCs Cayless, Jenkins, and Miller also had to enter the sea with the rope to allow Sgt Smith to wade further out.

Sgt Smith eventually managed to reach the woman who appeared to be struggling to keep afloat and the pair were then carefully pulled in by the team back to shore.

Following the incident, the woman received support from the police, ambulance and NHS services. 

A police spokesman said without the quick thinking, bravery and teamwork of the officers, the outcome may have been very different.

PC Dan Jenkins
PC Dan Jenkins (Devon and Cornwall Police)

PC Miller said: ‘Decisive leadership from PS Smith and strong teamwork and communication from officers in attendance meant we were able to prevent the incident escalating and serious harm coming to the woman.

‘We routinely put ourselves in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations, but gladly do this in the hope that we make a difference to individuals, families and the wider communities in Devon & Cornwall.’

Nearly thirty officers were honoured for their commitment and dedication to their roles at a recent awards evening held by Devon and Cornwall Police.

Chief Superintendent Roy Linden, who heads up the policing teams in South Devon, said: ‘It has been a privilege to celebrate and acknowledge the exceptional work of our officers in South Devon.

‘It’s truly inspiring to hear the accounts of how officers and staff have gone over and above their roles to keep people and our neighbourhoods safe.

‘Whether going face-to-face with danger to save lives, or going the extra mile to serve their communities, our officers and staff have acted with care, courage and dedication.’