Quick-thinking police officers commended for life-saving actions

The Welsh Ambulance Service has recognised the quick-thinking actions of three South Wales Police officers after they came to the aid of a man who suffered a heart attack at work.

Oct 26, 2020
By Tony Thompson

Police Constable Darren Westall from the Roads Policing Unit at Gwaelod Y Garth, and police constables Heledd Roberts and Catherine Frost, both based in Barry, were awarded a ‘Chief Executive’s Commendation’ by Jason Killens, chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, accompanied by South Wales Police Chief Inspector Tony Williams.

The three police constables were on duty on April 3 this year when a 51-year-old local bus driver pulled his vehicle over on Barry’s Porthkerry Street complaining of chest pains.

The driver was suffering what would later be described as a “massive heart attack” and a concerned member of the public flagged down PC Westall who became the first trained person present.

He said: “An ambulance had been called, but I knew there was a defibrillator at the station and with it being close by called in for immediate assistance.”

His colleagues, PC Roberts and PC Frost, were on response duty and arrived on scene in minutes with the automated electronic defibrillator from outside Barry police station.

PC Roberts said: “The driver had been moved from his cab to a more spacious seat but collapsed to the ground as his condition worsened. We took the decision to deploy the defibrillator as he had lost consciousness and stopped breathing. We used the defibrillator and he began breathing again immediately.”

The ambulance arrived soon after and took the patient to the University Hospital Wales, Cardiff where he underwent emergency surgery.

The ambulance service confirmed at the time that the use of the defibrillator had no doubt saved the man’s life.

Awarding the commendation at Barry ambulance station, Mr Killens said: “Having medically-trained colleagues across the emergency services can make all the difference when every second counts.

“The quick thinking and selfless nature of these police officers kick-started the chain of survival for the patient and helped ensure a positive outcome. I am proud to present this commendation to these amazing public servants and thank them for everything they have done and continue to do in keeping our communities safe.”

Praising his officers, Chief Insp Williams added: “The officers’ quick thinking and the defibrillator have ultimately saved this gentleman’s life.

“Despite the current climate, our officers remain on the front line, responding to spontaneous incidents, serving communities and doing their very best to keep everyone safe. It is pleasing to know we have officers like PCs Westall, Roberts and Frost among our ranks.

“Without their calm and quick-thinking actions, professionalism and bravery, the outcome for the bus driver and his loved ones could have been very different. I am very proud of their actions and we wish the gentleman a full and speedy recovery.”

Speaking of the commendation, PC Frost said: “We are all honoured and privileged to accept this award. Ultimately, we were just doing our jobs and to be commended by our partners in the ambulance service is a pleasant and unexpected surprise.”

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