A POLICE firearms officer who saved the life of a vulnerable man in possession of a handgun and a knife has been commended for his outstanding bravery.

Sergeant Rob Partridge, who is now a part of the Harwich policing team, was deployed to the scene alongside several armed response colleagues after unarmed local officers spotted the man shortly after he was reported missing in the early hours.

They arrived to find the man, who had taken an overdose, sitting on a wall holding what appeared to be a gun.

Sgt Partridge said: “It was very dark when we arrived so we couldn’t see clearly where the man was pointing his gun.

“I and my colleagues were about ten to 15 metres away from him and his gun and there was no physical cover for us to get behind.”

Sgt Partridge started talking to him and, after 40 minutes, the man put down his weapon but then produced a knife and cut himself.

“We quickly placed him in the back of a police car and, while one of my colleagues blue-lighted us to hospital, I performed CPR on him on the back seat,” Sgt Partridge said.

“Fortunately, he came round in hospital. He was later detained under section 2 of the Mental Health Act 1983 so he could get the treatment he needed.”

Sgt Partridge has served 20 years with Essex Police and is now a part of the Harwich Local Policing Team.

He was commended for his outstanding bravery and professionalism during the incident last February.

Dep Chief Con Andy Prophet, who presented Sgt Partridge with his commendation, said he and his colleagues had “displayed exceptional bravery in a demanding and highly volatile situation where loss of life was a very significant risk”.

He says: “We all know about situations where police firearms officers must confront armed criminals who are intent on causing others harm.

“But what is not so well known are the times they are called upon to intervene with people who are in a desperate state and threatening to harm themselves.

“And because firearms officers like Sgt Partridge are so highly trained in negotiation skills and paramedic medicine, they can diffuse such situations and deal with people who are in an extremely vulnerable position.”