MDP officers commended for life saving actions

Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) officers, PC Mason and PC Turnbull, based in Derbyshire, have been awarded Chief Constable commendations for saving the lives of three teenage girls.

Ministry of Defence Police
3 min readNov 18, 2021


Whilst on patrol in the Alvaston area, PC Mason and PC Turnbull were made aware by Derbyshire Constabulary of three teenage girls in difficulty whilst swimming in the River Derwent.

The MDP officers were close to the stretch of river where the girls were reported to be swimming, known locally as ‘Pebble Beach’, and responded immediately.

PC Mason and PC Turnbull arrived at the same time as Derbyshire Constabulary officers, including PC Teasdale. They surveyed the scene, locating two of the girls in the water on the opposite side of the river, hanging on to a large fallen tree branch. Both were in clear distress and struggling to hold on.

The officers’ attention was then drawn to a third girl in the water, approximately 50 metres downstream where the water was around two metres deep. The officers could see her head was intermittently dipping under the water and at this point she had been in the river for approximately 25 minutes. She was exhausted and cold-water shock was beginning to affect her ability to stay afloat.

The decision was made that PC Mason would enter the water to attempt to rescue the third girl, because there was a clear and immediate risk of her drowning. PC Turnbull and the Derbyshire Constabulary officers prepared to enter the water if necessary, to assist the other two girls, whilst waiting for the imminent arrival of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Specialist River Rescue Team.

Before entering the water, PC Mason removed all his operational policing equipment, including firearms, and shouted to the girl to lay on her back, as this would aid her in staying afloat. He then swam out to the girl and dragged her back upstream to the beach. PC Turnbull and PC Teasdale entered the water and assisted PC Mason with helping the girl on to the shore.

After exiting the water, PC Turnbull and PC Teasdale provided the girl with warm clothes to prevent her from going into shock. At the same time, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue arrived on scene and successfully rescued the other two girls. Once all three had been rescued, East Midlands Ambulance arrived on scene and took over medical care of the casualties.

Following the incident, and as a result of their actions, PC Mason and PC Turnbull were recently presented with commendations by Chief Constable Andy Adams.

Inspector Cossey, the Senior Police Officer at their station, said:

“Thanks to the quick and heroic actions of these officers, they were able to rescue and save the lives of the three teenage girls. We urge the public to please respect the water and think about their own safety, as well as the safety of others, before entering open areas of water, particularly cold water. This incident provides a stark reminder of the dangers of swimming in open water. If individuals are not experienced at open water swimming then please stay out, unless supervised.”

More information
Find out more about general safety around water by visiting the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) website:

Coming soon… Live footage showing the actions of these officers will feature in the Channel 5 documentary, Police Hour of Duty.



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