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Police force to fly flags at half mast for officer who died saving man’s life

A police force is to fly flags at half-mast for a “hugely respected” officer who died after being hit by a train as he attempted to save a distressed man on the tracks.

Sergeant Graham Saville, a response officer based at Newark Police Station, suffered serious injuries after he was hit in Balderton, near Newark-on-Trent, on August 24.

The 46-year-old was taken to Queen’s Medical Centre and died on Tuesday, according to Nottinghamshire Police.

The force has said that flags across the force will be flown at half-mast as a mark of respect to the “popular colleague”.

Tributes have been made to Sgt Saville by senior officers at the force as well as his local MP, the policing minister and the Home Secretary.

Paying respect to the Sgt Saville, Chief Constable Kate Meynell said: “Today is a day of mourning for the entire police family.

“Graham was a hugely respected and popular colleague and his death in the line of duty has come as an enormous shock to us all.

“Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to his family and we will do everything we can to support them through this unimaginably devastating time.

“It is impossible to put into words how devastating this news is for everyone who loved and respected Graham.

“On Thursday, he went to work to protect the people of Nottinghamshire from harm, and it is testament to his bravery and dedication as a police officer that he was fatally injured while attempting to save another man’s life.

“His service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak joined the tributes to Sgt Saville’s “bravery” and posted on X, previously known as Twitter: “I’m saddened to learn of the passing of Sergeant Saville. It is a testament to his bravery that he died in the line of duty and a terrible reminder of the work the police do every day to keep us safe.

“My thoughts are with his family, friends and the whole of Nottinghamshire Police Force.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman posted on X: “I offer my deepest condolences to the family and @nottspolice colleagues of Sergeant Graham Saville, who has lost his life after saving a man in distress on a railway line.

“We owe our police officers an immense debt of gratitude for their bravery while protecting us all.”

Head of the College of Policing, Chief Constable Andy Marsh, said: “This is devastating news and my thoughts and condolences are with this brave officer’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.

“It is a tragic reminder of the risks and bravery shown every day by our police officers and staff to keep the public safe.”

Policing minister Chris Philp posted on X: “I’m deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sgt Graham Saville, following his brave work to save someone else’s life on a railway line. He selflessly made the ultimate sacrifice. We will remember him. Our thoughts are with Graham’s family & colleagues.”

Robert Jenrick, MP for Newark, whose constituency includes Balderton, also used X to pay tribute to the sergeant’s “exceptional bravery”.

He said: “Sergeant Graham Saville selflessly gave his life to save someone else. All of us in Newark salute his exceptional bravery and self sacrifice, which won’t be forgotten.

“My thoughts are with his partner and children and all his colleagues at @nottspolice.”

Nottinghamshire Police Federation branch chairman Simon Riley said the sergeant’s death will “resonate deeply throughout policing” and added: “Graham was the epitome of what we should all strive to be as police officers and his selfless act of bravery in trying to save the life of another human being will not be lost on any of us.

“His selfless sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

The man on the railway lines, 29, sustained electricity-inflicted injuries and was taken to hospital where he remains, but his injuries are not believed to be life-changing.

British Transport Police (BTP) is leading an ongoing investigation into the incident.

Police officer hit by train
British Transport Police is leading the investigation (Danny Lawson/PA)

Assistant Chief Constable Allan Gregory expressed his “sincere and heartfelt condolences” and said BTP will be working alongside the Coroner’s Office as its investigation progresses.

He added: “It is one of the darkest days in policing to lose an officer in the line of duty, and Sergeant Saville’s loved ones will be at the forefront of our minds throughout our enquiries.”

Sgt Saville’s family has requested that their privacy be respected, Nottinghamshire Police said.

Ms Meynell also paid tribute to officers who attended the scene, some of whom provided “immediate medical assistance” while waiting for an ambulance.

“This was a deeply traumatic incident for those officers and we have a dedicated team providing support to them,” she said.

“When a colleague dies in the line of duty the shockwaves and sadness reverberate throughout the policing family and we will all deeply mourn our colleague.”