Published: 12:55, 25 April 2021
| Updated: 16:07, 25 April 2021
An ex-surfer who saved a man from drowning in the River Medway has been handed an award by Kent Police’s chief constable.
Hicham Yasmine was cycling close to the riverside in Maidstone last April on his way home after his shift at a print works when he spotted someone falling head first into the water and unable to swim.
He put down his bike and climbed in after him, pulling the man to safety before police and ambulance crews assisted.
The man was taken to hospital and was reported to have not suffered any long-term health effects.
Mr Yasmine, who has experience in professional surfing and as a lifeguard, was honoured for his actions at a virtual ceremony on Thursday, hosted by Kent police chief constable Alan Pughsley.
He was recognised alongside a number of police officers and staff.
Assistant chief constable Claire Nix, who retired from the force last month, received a commendation for her leadership in planning for and managing potential traffic disruption following Brexit, while also being in charge of the force’s response to the coronavirus pandemic at the same time.
She was assisted by superintendent Simon Thompson, superintendent Andrew Reeves and inspector Ian Warner in planning for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. They also received commendations.
Chief constable Pughsley also presented awards to Alicia Turner, Rachel Parkes and Harriet Preston, who work in the force control room and helped to rescue eight suspected migrants who were trapped in the back of a lorry in Dover last November.
Police community support officer Carl Brett was honoured with a commendation for his attempts to save the life of a man who had collapsed in Dover in January while he was off-duty. PCSO Brett was recognised for his swift actions but the man did later die.
Chief constable Pughsley said: “The impact of Covid-19 has made this year very difficult for everyone but it is clear that the bravery, work ethic and commitment to public service displayed by my officers and staff is as exemplary as it has ever been - not to mention the outstanding actions of a member of public who helped to save a man’s life.
“It is an absolute pleasure to recognise those who have gone above and beyond to serve the people of Kent, even if we are not yet able to celebrate their achievements in person due to social distancing restrictions.
“Kent Police has an abundance of amazing officers and staff who achieve great things on a daily basis, and I look forward to hosting more awards ceremonies in the future."
"It is an absolute pleasure to recognise those who have gone above and beyond...."
Mr Yasmine, 49, grew up in Casablanca, Morocco, but now lives in the County Town with his wife Diana and two sons, Dean and Ryan.
At the time of the incident, he said: “I couldn't sleep that night after all that had happened.
“A chief commander from Maidstone also called me the next day to thank me.
"He told me I'd saved the man, how brave I was and said he wanted to meet me. It was very nice.”