A north-east man has been recognised for his bravery after he jumped out of a car and raced down a busy city street to stop a van endangering the life of students and religious worshippers.
Alan Rae, a driving instructor with Police Scotland, was delivering a driving course on Old Aberdeen’s Orchard Street in 2018 when he spotted a van rolling down the adjoining Spittal Street.
The silver van was gathering speed, with Aberdeen University buildings and the Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre in its path, but Mr Rae was able to jump out his vehicle, catch up with the van and bring it to a stop before a potentially fatal crash.
A nearby student then helped raise the alarm and locate the van’s driver.
Yesterday, Mr Rae, 65, was recognised for his heroics at the Chief Constable’s Bravery and Excellence Awards at the Police Scotland Headquarters in Tulliallan.
The driving instructor, formerly a craft and design teacher, lives in old Aberdeen where the accident took place.
Speaking after the ceremony, which he attended with his wife Margaret, he said: “We were heading past the roundabout in King Street and turned up toward the staggered crossroads on Orchard Street.
“It was a tight turn and I spotted a silver car blocking the corner.
“As we approached, it kept moving and when I looked in the window, my heart stopped when I saw there was no driver.
“I jumped out and managed to get myself into the van before it went over the kerb.
“No-one on the street would have heard it coming. It was lucky they’re wasn’t more people – the street can be really busy with people going to the mosque and with students.”
— Police Scotland (@policescotland) February 28, 2020
Meanwhile, the joint Team of the Year award went to the Skye & Lochalsh Policing Team, Highland & Islands Division, and Major Investigation Team (MIT) West.
Inspector Lynda Allan, for the Skye and Lochalsh Policing Team, was overjoyed at the achievement yesterday.
The small team have supported local communities and were commended for dealing with a wide range of issues.
She said: “It’s great for the team to get this recognition. It’s absolutely amazing.
“We have a great team that covers all events and incidents that crop up.
“It’s also even more impressive since it is quite a small team, and to get this recognition is tremendous.”
It may be a snowy drive back to #Skye #Lochalsh after #PolScotAwards but we do have snacks for the journey….. need our energy for training with local Coastguard team tomorrow! #happyteam #workgoeson pic.twitter.com/YV6APDBqDh
— Lochaber & Skye Police (@LochabSkyePol) February 28, 2020
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone QPM said: “Policing is a challenging and rewarding vocation and I hear, every day, about the work of professional and compassionate people who are dedicated to improving the lives of their fellow citizens.
“Therefore, it is absolutely right and proper for the dedication of our officers and staff to be publicly acknowledged, and at the same time commend members of the public for the selfless acts of bravery and courage which have made a significant contribution to others and their communities.”