Police Officers have been praised for their prompt actions after a woman was rescued from the River Bann at Solitude Park on Thursday, sparking calls to keep Neighbourhood Policing Teams based in Banbridge.
Inspector Leslie Badger said had it not been for the quick actions of the officers the situation could have been very different.
The Banbridge Neighbourhood Patrol Team was in the park on June 4, at around 12.45pm when they spotted the female in the river. The woman did not appear to be well and one of the officers entered the river and brought her out to safety.
Following the incident on Thursday, David Simpson MP said: “I want to put on public record my sincere thanks to the officer for his quick thinking and selfless actions when he entered the water and brought this woman to safety.
“This is further evidence of the need to keep the Neighbourhood Team in Banbridge.
“Neighbourhood Officers are trusted within our communities and know the issues on the ground which ultimately leaves them in the best position to act appropriately with each individual situation.
“I will be raising this with the Justice Minister when I meet with him in the coming days.
“The Police set out every day with a huge task of protecting the public.
“When we get to neighbourhood level this service is so much more personal and equally valuable as neighbourhood officers are on the ground on a daily basis and get to know the people of Banbridge.”
Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd also praised the actions of the officer.
Mr O’Dowd MLA said: “The actions of the PSNI officer deserve recognition and huge credit as their intervention averted a tragedy.
“With the onset of summer, rivers and lakes become an attraction to people however it cannot be emphasised strongly enough how dangerous entering the water can be.
“On this occasion the PSNI officer was in the right place at the right time and acted with courage to save the woman.”
The public also responded on the Banbridge PSNI social media site with comments such as Neil Lord P who said: “Good work - another family tragedy averted,” and Stewart Penn who said: “Well done. Good to have such stories of everyday policing.”
The Neighbourhood Police Team were in the park on an unrelated enquiry when they came upon the incident. The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service responded and the woman was taken to hospital for assessment.