A police officer who courageously dived into the sea off Penzance to try and rescue two men from drowning has been nominated for a bravery award.

PC Christopher James was the first on the scene of the incident in July 2019 after reports came in that a man had been spotted face down in the water off Penzance’s promenade.

He could see another man was also in the sea and struggling, having apparently dived in to try and attempt a rescue of his own.

Realising the immediate danger of the situation and knowing he was putting himself at risk, PC James cast off his uniform and dived into the sea from the high promenade.

Other police units had arrived by then, but the ambulance and coastguard crews were still on their way.

PC James ploughed through the waves and got to the men and initially tried to drag them both back to shore.

It proved impossible, and by then, a colleague had managed to get a flotation device thrown out to the officer. Holding on to the device, the three men were pulled safely to shore.

PC James then went about resuscitating the unconscious man who had been floating face down in the water. Despite PC James’ incredible efforts, the man sadly died after being airlifted to hospital.

Devon and Cornwall Police Federation chairman Andrew Berry said PC James had undoubtedly saved the other man’s life through his heroic and selfless actions.

“Police officers do much more than fight crime and this is a fine example of a colleague running towards the danger to try and protect and save lives,” said Andrew.

“PC Christopher James showed bravery above and beyond the call of duty to make this rescue. He saved a man’s life and did everything he could to try and save another life, sadly not with a better outcome.

“We are so very proud of Christopher. He’s a very worthy nominee for The National Police Bravery Awards.”

Andrew added: “Sadly on this occasion it wasn’t the perfect ending and our thoughts remain with the family of the man who lost his life.”

The National Police Bravery Awards honour officers from across England and Wales who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.

As a nominee, PC James will attend a daytime reception and evening awards ceremony in London in July 2021.

The 2020 event – the 25th National Police Bravery Awards - had been scheduled to take place this past summer but had to be cancelled due to Coronavirus.

However, the Police Federation of England and Wales said wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the work of all 94 nominees from across the country online.

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “We are incredibly proud of all the nominees from across England and Wales. The actions of these courageous officers provide a small snapshot of the amazing work our colleagues carry out day in and day out.

“PC Christopher James is quite simply a hero. He risked his safety to try and save others. We cannot underestimate the bravery and courage needed - and the pure instinct to launch yourself into dangerous water to try and save lives.

“As a Police Federation, we wanted to make sure these brave officers received the recognition they deserve in the year their actions were meant to be celebrated. And we look forward to seeing them all in person – and revealing regional and national winners - when the time is right in 2021.”