Police Federation


Rushden Lakes

Rushden Lakes

A PC who risked his life to rescue a distressed girl and assist two members of the public at Nene Wetlands in Northamptonshire has been nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards 2023.

On 16 June 2022, the police received a call that a girl had become lost whilst walking with her mother.

As the incident developed, it was further reported two members of the public had heard the girl’s calls for help from the water bordering the popular shopping park Rushden Lakes inside the wetlands.

Despite the risks, the two members of the public had entered the water and were wading to locate the lost girl.

There were now three people at risk in the water, with one of the friends of the rescuers speculating to the police they might be dead.

A team of officers, including PC Joshua Newcombe, attended the scene and were given standard instructions not to enter the water due to the risks. They were advised to wait for the arrival of specialist 999 services.

However, PC Newcombe decided to take action and wade into the water after conducting a risk assessment based on the immediate danger faced by the three people.

Swimming over as quickly as possible, he was soon able to determine they were located on a firm but remote bank and remained there to assure them whilst other officers crawled through the undergrowth from the other side to rescue them from land.

Undoubtedly, PC Newcombe and the two members of the public took a life-threatening risk to protect a girl in distress.

Northamptonshire Police Federation Chair Sam Dobbs said: “Whilst police officers are disciplined to follow orders, they are also required to use their discretion and risk management skills to do what is best.

“PC Newcombe's refusal to follow initial instructions showed courage and initiative without recklessness and he put the safety of vulnerable people before his own. This is in the best traditions of policing, and why it is absolutely right we recognise his actions and their results alongside all the other humbling acts being celebrated.”

Supporting the Northamptonshire Police Federation Chair’s views, Chief Constable Nick Adderley, said: “Despite the potential dangers ahead, PC Newcombe chose to take action on this day to ensure that a potentially fatal situation was averted. I am really proud of him and pleased to see he has been nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards.

“I have been in this job for many years now and I am still astounded by the selflessness of our officers. They put themselves in harm’s way every day, often with little to no appreciation, in order to fight crime and protect people.

“I never underestimate their efforts and am exceptionally proud to lead them.”

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