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Officer hailed after bridge suicide prevention

A security officer from an Ilford-based company has been hailed for his part in a life-saving incident while on a patrol in Romford in east London. Haroon Yousaf, pictured, prevented a man from jumping off Ardleigh Bridge over the A127. Staff from the engineering company who are coordinating the bridge replacement project praised the officer for his quick thinking and calmness in a difficult situation.

Haroon Yousaf who has been employed by AA Security for over nine years, is described by the firm as a committed and hard-working individual who rarely misses a shift when healthy. Although he has been suffering for some time with a painful cyst in his stomach region he bravely endures his work without complaint.

During the early hours of Saturday, November 25, while patrolling around the current Ardleigh Bridge, Haroon noticed a man with one leg planted on the bridge and another leg dangling from the other side of the bridge; it was clear to Haroon the man was attempting to jump off the bridge.

Despite having never dealt with a potential suicide on his shift, Haroon swiftly followed protocol for the site. He first contacted the other security officer on the site, and asked him to contact the AA control centre, while Haroon kept the man committing suicide engaged. The other officer then contacted AA Security control centre who asked him to contact the police and to inform the senior operative for the engineering clients at the site, of the emergency.

In the meanwhile Haroon Yousaf kept the the man attempting suicide from jumping. He recalled: “I tried to make the man think of positive things in his life, I asked him if he had any family and explained that his death would cause them great panic. I told him despite how he feels at the moment family and friends love him and need you in their lives so that together you strengthen one another. I also told him about how God had saved me from great depression after my mother passed away and it seemed to work he calmed down and started to listen to me.”

“Something changed however and at one point he just started to shout expletives at me, but I ignored him. I told him it was fine to vent his frustration at me just as long as it helped him calm down.”

When Haroon’s fellow security officer and several men arrived on the bridge behind, Haroon used gestures and his eyes to ask two of them to go to the other side.

Two employees from the clients crossed the road but not before they had placed cones on the road, preventing any traffic from getting to an area where a potential jump or fall from the man attempting suicide, might cause further deaths or injuries. Once the site foreman got to the other side he and Haroon exchanged looks; Haroon kept the attention of the man they were attempting to save by talking and looking at him; then when the foreman ran to grab the man from around his waist from behind, Haroon followed up and grabbed the man from the front. Together the two men pulled the man away from danger and held him to the ground until police arrived.

Haroon’s fellow officer returned to the site and called the AA control centre as soon as the man was safe. He also began to write up an incident report, ensuring that it was kept for evidence purposes.

When an AA response team arrived on site they asked if Haroon wanted to remain on site or leave with full pay and Haroon decided to remain. His commitment to AA Security has been labelled as ‘unrelenting and total’ by AA director Juliet Chowdhry.

Wilson Chowdhry, Director of AA Security Ltd, said: “The intelligence and foresight of Haroon Yousaf has to be complimented. Not only did his quick thinking save a drunken man from committing suicide it what may well have simply been a momentary depressive state related to the drink, but his actions also saved many others who could have been involved in a very dangerous vehicle incident and consequential collisions. His recall of our company protocol and the investment we put into training him effectively helped guide his actions in what was a tremendously brave and well coordinated reaction to a new and very dangerous situation. It proves that inward investment can really yield professional dividend.

“The manner in which our security operatives and our client operatives teamed up to save so many people is simply a textbook delivery of life saving services.”


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