More than crime fighters
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Our police officers are here to help people, keep you safe and catch criminals.
The work they do every day to investigate crime and bring people to justice is more widely known than their work to help you and keep you safe.
Our Chief Constable, Ben-Julian Harrington, commends officers and staff who put themselves in harm’s way to protect people and to save lives. A Chief Constable’s Commendation is one of the highest honours he can bestow.
With the recent relaxing of Coronavirus regulations, Mr Harrington has been able to recommence his recognition of officers and staff who have performed acts of bravery, many of which involve saving lives.
Recent commendations have included:
Tendring children and young persons officer PC Con Bowen who, without hesitation, performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a man in cardiac arrest during the first national lockdown in April 2020.
Con was travelling to a youth engagement meeting in Clacton when he came across a car which had collided with a wall. When he went to investigate, Con found an elderly man behind the wheel, who was conscious but not responding. Con called for emergency assistance but, within a couple of minutes, the man stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest.
In the midst of the pandemic and without access to personal protective equipment, Con disregarded his personal safety and administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until paramedics arrived. Hospital doctors later said Con’s early intervention and critical emergency first aid saved the man’s life.
After the man was taken to hospital, Con continued on to attend his meeting.
“When the man went into cardiac arrest, I knew I had to get at him properly, so I dragged him out of the car, laid him down and started cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
“I didn’t have protective equipment but I thought, if that was my dad or my grandfather, I’d want someone to save them.”
PC Con Bowen
PC Scott Dynevor Mead Lewis, PC Tom Whelan-Bassett and PC Luke Salmon, who received bravery commendations from The Society for the Protection of Life from Fire ’in testimony of distinguished conduct’ in saving a man’s life.
Scott heard an alarm going off in a block of flats on 9 November 2019 and reported it to our Force Control Room who alerted the fire and ambulance services. Fellow Colchester Local Policing Team colleagues, including Tom and Luke, arrived quickly in support.
Although the door to the burning flat had been barricaded, Scott managed to break down the door while other team members evacuated residents and ensured they were safe.
Scott was experiencing breathing difficulties because of the smoke so Tom and Luke entered the flat and, after a quick search, located an unconscious man on a sofa. They took him down three flights of stairs to safety and then performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation until fire crews and an ambulance arrived. The man was taken to hospital for treatment and later discharged. All three were later treated for smoke inhalation but were back on duty the following night.
“You don’t actually think, you just go in. I think anyone in our position would have done it but we were just the first on scene.
“We got up the stairs quite quickly, knocked the door in and just went in. Then we did a quick sweep of the flat and found an unconscious man. Thankfully, we managed to get him out safely.
“I was chuffed to receive a commendation but that’s not why we did it.”
PC Tom Whelan-Bassett, who is now with our Chelmsford Domestic Abuse Investigation Team
“I just felt calmness and desperation to get in. You don’t think twice about it at the time.
“It’s very overwhelming to be recognised. I didn’t expect it, it’s just part of the job but for the Chief to go out of his way to recognise our actions makes me feel very proud.“
PC Luke Salmon, who is now a dog handler
“It’s an honour to be recognised for something which, to us, is an everyday part of our job. It’s why we joined the police, to go to big incidents and save people’s lives.
“We’ve been recognised for it but, ultimately, it was a team effort.”
PC Scott Dynevor Mead Lewis
PC Mark Collins, who received a letter of commendation from the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire for his bravery, which undoubtedly saved a man’s life.
Officers were called to an incident in Rochford on 22 July 2019 where a man had barricaded himself inside a flat.
Because of fears the man might try to harm himself, Mark and two fellow firearms officers were called to the scene. Our firearms officers are trained in advanced first aid and negotiation.
Mark and a colleague tried to negotiate with the man but he refused to engage. They raised concerns regarding the man’s welfare and force negotiators were called in but, before they could persuade the man to come out, flames were seen within the flat and smoke emerged from under the front door.
It was then that Mark and his two colleagues entered the smoke-engulfed flat and, while one of them tackled the flames with a fire extinguisher, Mark and the third officer managed to get the man out of the flat safely. Fire crews from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service ensured the fire was put out.
“You don’t think about recognition when you’re going from job to job as lots of things happen that are worthy of a mention, but it’s really nice to get recognised.”
PC Mark Collins
“I ask our officers to help people and keep them safe and these are some outstanding examples of my officers doing just that. It’s a real privilege to be able to commend them nd recognise their bravery, quick thinking and determination in saving people’s lives.
“All these officers have shown exceptional bravery, whether it’s entering burning flats to get the occupants out safely or giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation without protection during a pandemic.
“They will say ‘it’s just my job, that’s what I joined to do’ but it is not in their job description and it can mean placing themselves at risk to save others from harm.”
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington
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