A top award for a Special cop’s life saving effort

Richard Downs, Dacorum special constable
Richard Downs, Dacorum special constable

An off-duty police officer who stopped a man from taking his own life will receive a top national lifesaving award.

Special Constable Richard Downs from Herts Constabulary was hailed a hero by the Humane Society’s secretary Dick Wilkinson as he announced that the rural officer is to receive a certificate of commendation for his actions on May 6.

He sprung into action after coming across a man attempting to commit suicide in his vehicle, which had been driven onto farm land off Little Revel End Lane, Redbourn.

Mr Wilkinson said: “Although SC Downs was off-duty, he went above and beyond the call of duty in investigating this incident, and his fast response likely proved the difference between life and death.

“His heroic actions clearly merit one of our awards.”

SC Downs, who has been a Special Constable since 2009 and covers the rural areas of Dacorum, was at home when he received a call from a farmer neighbour who had confronted the man as he tried to drive into one of his fields.

The man smelt of smelt of alcohol and was abusive.

The officer told his neighbour to call the police if the man returned but he called SC Downs again just 20 minutes later to say the motorist was back and had gained access to the field.

Mr Wilkinson said: “SC Downs decided to investigate.

“The windows were steamed up but, as he banged on the door, he could see movement inside.

“The door opened and, inside, he saw a man, who appeared collapsed.

“As SC Downs called 999, he could see a kitchen knife in the car, so he moved it out of reach of the driver and then reached in and switched the engine off. The man was taken to hospital, where he made a full recovery.”

A date for the award, made on the recommendation of Herts Police, to be presented has not yet been set.