Police Federation

Awards nominee: Durham

PC Brian Dawson

PC Brian Dawson

Hero officer saves man from oncoming train

A man had told others that he wanted to kill himself by either jumping off a bridge or in front of a train. Officers had gone to his home and during a search found information to suggest he may be in the Langley Moor area of the East Coast Mainline, although the exact location was unknown.

PC Dawson went to the area in question and started a search before spotting a member of the public waving frantically at him. She had seen the man sitting on the railway, drinking a can of lager and directed the officer to where he was.

PC Dawson followed her directions, while the communications dispatcher tried frantically to stop all trains on the line.

The officer tried to speak to the man from the other side of a fence as the line was still active. The man did not want to talk, and PC Dawson heard the vibration of a train approaching. He looked up, saw a train coming in his direction and had to make a split-second decision. Without any thought for his own safety, PC Dawson climbed over the fence and ran towards the man, who had made no effort to move. Despite the man being of heavy build, PC Dawson managed to drag him across the line away from the oncoming train, which was almost upon them. This was done with seconds to spare – as soon as he moved the man from the line, the train passed them.

A short time later other officers arrived on the scene and the man was restrained and detained. The train driver had seen what was happening on the line and had slowed the train, coming to a stop further down the line. He was seen to applaud the officers through the window as he passed.

PC Dawson’s line manager Sgt Todd said that his actions were “some of the bravest I have seen in my service”.

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