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Two Hampshire police officers have been nominated for a National Police Bravery Award after stopping a man setting fire to himself infront of children at a Portsmouth play park.
PCs Steven Males and Michael Nol got covered in petrol themselves before grabbing a lighter from the man at College Park on Copner Road.
The mental health team at a local hospital alerted the police because the male had threatened to buy some petrol from a local petrol station and set himself alight.
He had no mental health history but had been detained under the Mental Health Act the previous day for threatening to throw himself from a bridge.
The police officers found the man soaked in petrol, holding a lighter to his head in an effort to ignite the petrol.
There was a struggle and the officers wrestled the man to the ground while he was still trying to strike the lighter. Other officers arrived on the scene and secured the lighter.
The male needed immediate first aid as he had ingested a lot of petrol in his eyes, nose and mouth. He was detained and taken to hospital for treatment.
Hampshire Police said both policemen acted instinctively in a very dangerous situation.
Hampshire Police Federation Chairman John Apter added:
“PC Nol and PC Males reacted instinctively to save the life of a member of the public. In doing so they put their own lives at risk. I have no doubt that their actionssaved the man’s life, they are a credit to the service.”