Early in the morning of 10th August 2017, a double decker bus crashed into a building and was engulfed in thick black smoke. A large crowd had gathered and people were screaming that the bus was on fire and that the driver was trapped.
James Slender, at the time a police constable, got into the bus through the rear emergency exit and made his way up to the driver, who was unconscious. Believing that the bus would go up in flames at any second, James turned the engine off, forced the door open, and carried the unconscious driver to safety. The crowd told him that there were still 2 passengers trapped on the top deck, and so James went back in and climbed the stairs to the top deck where he found a trapped woman. Luckily a doctor arrived at this point and took over her care. Knowing there was still another trapped passenger at the front of the bus on the top deck, and that the building had partially collapsed on the vehicle, James went up again into the smoke-filled bus and found a woman stuck between a buckled seat and the collapsed building. Even though he was clearly in a dangerous situation, James stayed with the trapped woman until the fire brigade arrived.
For his selfless actions that morning, PC Slender was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Bronze Medal. In early 2019 the Awards Committee awarded PC James Slender, since promoted to Police Sergeant, the Society’s Police Medal.