Harrogate Police Station
Harrogate Police Station

Harrogate Police Constable wins compassion award for helping suicidal teenager

8 November 2016

PC Xavi Lopez from Harrogate was awarded the bronze Compassion Award at North Yorkshire Police’s second Annual Awards ceremony on Friday (4 November 2016) for preventing two girls from jumping from a railway bridge.

The awards ceremony, which was held at the Hospitium in York, was introduced to celebrate the achievements of officers and staff who embody the Force’s values of courage, compassion and inspiration, was attended by winners, their families and senior officers.

It was during a routine patrol when a PC Lopez – an officer still in his probationary period – received a call for immediate assistance.

A suicidal 14 year old girl and her cousin had been discovered sitting on the edge of a railway bridge in Harrogate, and the situation looked in danger of developing in a potentially fatal way.

PC Lopez arrived at the scene and, after initial resistance, persuaded the girls to allow him to approach. Suddenly, a train appeared heading under the bridge and one girl, who PC Lopez knew was a suicide risk with a history of self-harm, stated her intention to jump.

Realising that the girls were both in immediate danger, PC Lopez made a split-second decision to grab hold of both girls to pull them to safety.

Although the two girls’ combined weight exceeded his own, and he was putting his own safety in danger, PC Lopez’s brave actions meant that was able to bring the girls back over the wall, saving them from serious injury.

Along with PC Lopez, the other officers and staff who also received awards included:

  • PC Michael Tinsley from Scarborough, who was awarded the gold Courage Award for single-handedly dealt with a double knife threat from two violent and intoxicated women
  • PCs Gregory, Ellison, Harvey, Scott and Churchward, and PSCOs Lewis and Taylor from York, who were awarded the silver Courage Award for being first on the scene at a dramatic fatal stabbing incident at a house in Acomb
  • York PCSOs Dowson, Warburton, Harris, Calpin, Martin and Burgoyne who were awarded the bronze Courage Award for entering a burning building to stop a fire spreading to neighbouring buildings
  • Acting DI Steve Menzies from Craven, who was awarded the gold Inspiration Award for raising thousands of pounds for local youth charities
  • The Serious Crime Team, who was awarded the silver Inspiration Award for their painstaking work which secured a conviction in a “first of its kind” landmark manslaughter case
  • DC Chris Ryan from Selby, who was awarded the bronze Inspiration Award tracked a violent criminal all the way to Costa Rica and negotiated his return to the UK to face justice
  • PCSOs Di Smith and Ange Kaye, based at Catterick Garrison, who were awarded the gold Compassion Award for working both on and off-duty to help a woman in severe distress to get the life-saving help she needed
  • PC James Dunn from Scarborough who was awarded the silver Compassion Award for his professional intervention which prevented a man from jumping from a bridge.
  • PC Xavi Lopez from Harrogate, who was awarded the bronze Compassion Award for preventing two girls from jumping from a railway bridge
  • PC Lee Featherstone, Northallerton who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for a Police Officer, for his ongoing commitment to both policing and his community throughout a career spanning 25 years
  • Fiona Welburn, Evidence and File Development Investigator from York was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Police Staff, for her support to the police over 32 years.
  • Northallerton Special Constable Rod Winter who was awarded the Glenn Goodman trophy for an outstanding Special Constable.  This award – one of North Yorkshire Police’s premier honours – is given in memory of SC Glenn Goodman, who was tragically shot dead by an IRA gunman whilst on duty in Tadcaster in 1992.
  • PC Iain Pomfret was awarded the Distinguished conduct while engaged in rescue of life from fire award, for his brave and selfless actions in a difficult and dangerous situation.


Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, Dave Jones, said:

It’s not every day that our officers, staff and volunteers get recognised for going above and beyond in what they do and so it’s an honour to be here this evening to celebrate the winners of this year’s awards.

From those who have shown courage, compassion and inspiration in their day-to-day work to the colleagues who have made lifelong contributions to the service and the community we were humbled to see so many nominations for this year’s award and I am extremely proud of each and every one.

As a police force we continue to operate in challenging times but these awards are a chance to remind ourselves of the remarkable dedication and sense of duty that is shown by those who work and volunteer for North Yorkshire Police.


Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, said:

Every day police officers, staff and volunteers go the extra mile to keep us safe and protect us from harm so I was delighted to be able to support these very special awards in their second year.

The evening proved to be a real celebration of public service, personal courage and compassion and was a chance to say thank you and celebrate the outstanding work done on behalf of the public of North Yorkshire.


North Yorkshire Police gratefully acknowledges the support of its sponsors for this event, who included: the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, CGA Accountants, the Police Federation, the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, ASB Help, NARPO, UNISON and Police Mutual.

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