Police call handler from Bucks rewarded for supporting potentially suicidal man

“The male I spoke to was very distressed and was making threats of suicide amongst other things.”
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A police call handler from Buckinghamshire has been rewarded for supporting a man expressing suicidal thoughts.

Thames Valley Police’s chief constable has awarded Dan Peters for his efforts in preventing a tragedy and saving a life during a distressing call in 2022.

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Chief Constable Jason Hogg presented the Bucks-based contact management centre officer with commendations at a ceremony held at the force’s training centre in Sulhamstead.

Dan Peters and Chief Constable Jason HoggDan Peters and Chief Constable Jason Hogg
Dan Peters and Chief Constable Jason Hogg

On 24 July 2022, Dan received a call from a distressed man who was sat in his car saying that he wanted to end his life.

Thames Valley Police described Dan’s efforts as ‘exceptional’, he immediately realised that he needed to keep the caller on the line and started engaging with him very carefully to try and build a rapport.

Dan managed to find out where the caller was and passed updates onto the police’s control room, so staff could help with risk assessments.

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Thames Valley Police states that he remained calm and composed, which in turn helped to keep the caller calm and the situation under control. Adding that throughout the call, Dan was empathetic to the caller, talking to him about his family and trying to reason with him not to take any action right then. Dan was compassionate and the caller clearly felt at ease talking to him.

A spokesperson said: “Even after the police arrived on scene, Dan was reluctant to give up. He kept listening to what the officers were saying in the background, encouraging caller to engage with them. At just over the two-hour mark, Dan was able to end the call and negotiators took over.”

Dan said: “I am very proud to receive this commendation, recognising the call that I took back in 2022.

“The male I spoke to was very distressed and was making threats of suicide amongst other things.

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“I remained calm with him, updated the log as appropriate and built up a bit of a rapport with him that prevented him taking his life until officers arrived.”