Tributes to former Northumbria Police officer shot dead while serving in Canada

Picture issued by the Abbotsford Police Department of Pc John Davidson
Picture issued by the Abbotsford Police Department of Pc John Davidson

Tributes have been paid to a former British police officer who was shot dead while serving in Canada.

Pc John Davidson, 53, was killed while trying to arrest a suspect in Abbotsford, British Columbia, on Monday.

The local police department said it had lost "an amazing colleague and friend who died in the line of duty".

On its website, the force paid tribute to the married father-of-three, saying: "Our community lost a hero.

"John was a dedicated police officer who devoted so much of his time to connecting with the community and helping kids."

He was formerly an officer with Northumbria Police and its Acting Chief Constable Winton Keenen said: "We were very saddened to learn of the death of our former colleague who died bravely in the line of duty while serving as an officer in Abbotsford, Canada.

"Our thoughts are very much with his family, friends and former colleagues at this difficult time."

Mr Davidson was a police officer for 24 years, working from 1993 to 2005 in Newcastle and North Shields, then on motor patrols before he emigrated.

Mr Keenen added: "Today many of our officers who knew John well during his career with us and kept in touch with him over the ensuing years are shocked by the events in Canada.

"We all want to express our sincere condolences to his family at this tragic news."

Abbotsford police chief Bob Rich said: "We ask our police officers when someone is putting people's lives in danger, when there is an active shooter, we no longer wait for cover, we no longer set up teams, the first person in, goes.

"John Davidson was the first person in and away he went and he died protecting you and me."

Mr Davidson won plaudits for his work in reducing teenage deaths on the roads, an awareness campaign around the dangers of ecstasy and for catching drink drivers.

The fit athlete had recently completed a fundraising bike ride with other officers for research into cancer.

Mr Rich said: "In 2006 he uprooted his family, his wonderful wife and three small kids at that point, and all of them came out here to a place that they knew nothing about.

"He wanted an outdoors life, he wanted to try something new."

He added: "The family are amazing, the family are strong, the family are in shock.

"The family are going to draw together and look after each other but it is going to be quite a journey."

Northumbria Police Federation said their former colleague was shot while trying to arrest a suspect who had opened fire in the car park of a shopping centre.

Chairman Jim Gray said: "John was a truly professional and committed police officer.

"His actions are in keeping with the man I knew and served with, courageously putting himself in harm's way to protect others.

"He is a shining example of the best of us. I'm proud to have known him."