One jump threat a week on Sunderland bridge

Picture by Roy Bradfield
Picture by Roy Bradfield
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POLICE have been called to Sunderland’s Wearmouth Bridge 222 times in the past three years after reports of people threatening to jump off.

Figures obtained by the Echo reveal, on average, a jumper a week is leading to emergency services being called to the city landmark.

During 2010, police were called out to 59 incidents of someone threatening to jump from bridge, while the following year it rose to 85.

Last year, there were 78 call outs.

In total, there have been seven deaths as a result of those incidents since 2010.

As well as the police, expert negotiators, paramedics and the fire brigade, members of Sunderland RNLI are often called to the scene.

Paul Nicholson, from the city’s RNLI said: “We attend if we are requested by the police.

“Our primary role is to be on stand-by at a safe distance and then react if the person involved should fall or jump.

“We are also there as a safety element for the fire brigade, coastguard or police as often they have to go over barriers to speak to the individual.”

Samaritans signs with helpline numbers are in place on the bridge in a bid to prevent the numbers increasing.

Last September, quick-thinking passers-by rushed to hold on to a woman who was threatening to jump off the bridge.

The 29-year-old was spotted climbing over its railings in a “distressed state”.

Police, the fire service and paramedics were called to the scene and the RNLI was asked to launch by the Coastguard and its inshore lifeboat was sent to the scene.

When the emergency services arrived, they found people holding on to the woman, who was threatening to make the 100ft jump.

Twitter: @craigjourno