Scott Monument death prompts suicide awareness training

Police at the Scott Monument yesterday. Picture: Greg Macvean

Police at the Scott Monument yesterday. Picture: Greg Macvean

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STAFF at the Scott Monument are to receive suicide awareness training after a man tragically fell to his death from the landmark.

City council bosses said workers would be shown how to spot signs of distress and given advice on persuading individuals not to harm themselves.

As a council, we have to look at what can be done because it’s tragic when people feel so desperate that they do that kind of thing.

Alasdair Rankin

It has also emerged monument managers are considering whether to install additional security measures such as fencing and netting.

Police are continuing their inquiry into yesterday afternoon’s incident, after the death of the man who fell from the structure at around 2pm.

Princes Street was closed westbound between Waverley Bridge and The Mound, with local traffic diversions imposed while emergency services attended the scene.

A city council spokeswoman said: “We are thankful to our monument staff and the emergency services for their swift and sensitive response, and our thoughts are with the loved ones of the deceased at this sad time.

“In December, following a similar incident, the council sought advice from the Samaritans and the police.

“Their guidance has led us to work with Choose Life suicide prevention, who will offer awareness training for monument staff, and the council will continue exploring additional measures which could prevent further incidents at the Scott Monument.”

Previous incidents have led to calls to improve security on the 172-year-old structure.

It was closed off around three times last year while police responded to similar incidents, with traffic disrupted in the area and streets cordoned off.

SNP councillor Alasdair Rankin has urged the city to look at enhancing physical safety barriers.

He said: “It may be possible to put some fencing in place around the two principle viewing levels on the monument.

“As a council, we have to look at what can be done because it’s tragic when people feel so desperate that they do that kind of thing.”

Police said their investigation into the death was ongoing.

A spokeswoman said: “Police in Edinburgh received a report of concern for a man on the Scott Monument around 2pm on Thursday, February 11.

“The man was sadly pronounced dead at the scene after falling from the monument.”

• The Samaritans provides a safe place for people to talk and are available 24 hours a day. Contact the helpline on 116 123 or online at www.samaritans.org.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com