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Life-saving actions recognised by the Royal Humane Society

Last modified: 21 December 2020 at 03:58pm

You might have heard the expression that policing is not just about crime. Our officers and staff are called to all manner of incidents, from people in distress, to rescues, to people who are seriously injured, or they are just in the right place at the right time.

We are humbled when their actions are acknowledged, particularly when they have saved someone’s life. Over the past year, a number of officers and staff, and members of the public, have been presented with awards from the Royal Humane Society for their actions in helping to save lives.

The Royal Humane Society awards medals, testimonials and certificates for acts of bravery in the saving of human life and for effecting successful resuscitations.

Below you can read about a few of these awards that were recently presented to officers, staff and members of the public. They relate to incidents in 2019 and one in 2018, but formal presentations have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also, some members of the public have not yet been formally presented with theirs due to the ongoing restrictions.

Certificate of Commendation

Four police officers from Selby received awards for their part in coming to the aid of a man in mental distress.

PCs Heidi Mcloughlin, Jordan Drummond, Gemma Churchward and Rebecca Easton, were each awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the society.

The officers were called to a property in the Selby District on a night in the summer of 2019 after the man indicated that he wanted to end his life

The officer began talking to the man to encourage him to come to safety. They acted with great care and consideration in difficult circumstances and what was a distressing and volatile situation, while also considering the welfare of the family members who were present.

After talking with the man, he suddenly jumped from a height. The officers acted immediately, taking hold of him and removing a ligature from around his neck.

The swiftness of the officer’s actions ensured the man did not suffer any serious injuries. The ambulance service was called to the scene and man was transferred into the care of healthcare professionals.

PC Gemma Churchward receives Royal Humane Society award
PC Gemma Churchward
Two police officers receive Royal Humane Society Award
PCs Heidi McLoughlin & Jordan Drummond










Certificate of Commendation

A police inspector was presented with a Certificate of Commendation after coming to the aid of a seriously injured motorist while he was off duty.

While travelling home late at night after completing a shift, he came across a vehicle that had crashed into a tree near Selby.

A member of the public had also stopped at the scene to call emergency services.

After stopping and using his own vehicle to protect the scene, he quickly assessed the situation that also involved a small child who was covered in blood. Thankfully the child was uninjured other than minor cuts and bruises, but the driver of the car had suffered serious life-threatening injuries and was suffering from potential catastrophic blood loss due to a partially severed hand.

Using his first aid training and his own first aid kit, the officer applied a tourniquet and after several attempts slowed the bleeding down.

He assessed the scene for further casualties and safety, all in darkness save for the headlights of the vehicle belonging to the member of the public who had stopped.

The officer remained with the man, stemming the bleeding and providing care and reassurance until the ambulance arrived.

It was said that his actions prevented the man from bleeding to death at the roadside in the presence of the child. Thankfully, surgeons were able to reattach the man’s hand.

 Resuscitation Certificate

PC Andrew Pearson based in York and Sergeant Tom Ibbetson based in Thirsk were presented with Resuscitation Certificates for helping to save the life of a man who had suffered a heart attack.

They were carrying out enquiries when they were flagged down by a distressed woman who was concerned about her husband’s erratic driving.

The man had undergone surgery a few days prior to the incident and was driving to the hospital with his wife as passenger. After becoming concerned by her husband’s manner of driving, she got out of the car but he carried on driving.

The officers found her husband in his car nearby and while assisting, they witnessed him suffer a seizure and stop breathing. The officers then administered first aid at the side of the road.

Sergeant Ibbetson carried out chest compressions while PC Pearson administered air to his mouth via an air bag. Other officers arrived and flagged down a passing paramedic who informed the officers that the man was suffering a heart attack.

The two officers continued to give CPR while the paramedic prepared their equipment during which time, the man regained consciousness.  The paramedic then took over and the man was taken to hospital by ambulance where he remained overnight and was discharged the following day.

Both the officers’ actions saved the man’s life.

Resuscitation Certificates

Sergeant Ibbetson also received a Resuscitation Certificate along with four colleagues after they came to the aid of a man who had fallen and hit his head in Sherburn-in-Elmet.

The injured man’s friend flagged PCSO James Hudson and another PCSO down in the street after his friend had collapsed and banged his head on the footpath.

Officers found the man unconscious and not breathing. The two PCSOs carried out CPR on the injured man by themselves until four of their colleagues from the Firearms Support Unit arrived including Sgt Ibbetson. Specialist firearms officers are all trained in advanced first aid.

A paramedic arrived at the scene a short time later and the officers continued CPR for over 40 minutes to support the medical staff and allow them to carry out other treatment.

It was noted by the clinical supervisor on scene that he was impressed with the knowledge and competence of the officers at scene giving his staff the opportunity to give drugs and put lines in to give him the maximum opportunity of survival.

The man was taken to hospital and placed in an induced coma, but very sadly, he later died from his injuries.

Certificate of Commendation

Sergeant Mark Grimes and PCSO Grenville Dowson along with another colleague, were awarded a Certificate of Commendation after rescuing a man from the River Foss in York.

On a night in December 2019, a man entered the water following an argument with his partner and before long got into difficulty and was unable to get out.

The officers arrived at the scene and after negotiating a gate, a fence and thorn bushes, the officers reached the man who was submerged in the water, and his partner, who was becoming increasingly distressed, was holding on to him through a fence.

Despite the tough and cold conditions, and a metal fence being in the way, the officers worked together to get the man out of the water. They first lifted him onto a small ledge, which although still in the water, allowed them to secure him so he was not fully submerged. They then worked together to lift the man up and over the fence and to safety.

The man was taken to hospital and made a full recovery.

Resuscitation Certificate and Certificate of Commendation

A member of the public was awarded a Certificate of Commendation and four police officers and two members of the public were awarded Resuscitation Certificates after resuscitating a teenager who had self harmed. The awards were made in recognition of their actions at the scene that led to saving a life, including the quick actions of the member of the public who found the teenager, and the officers’ use of CPR and a defibrillator.

Although no formal presentation ceremony was held due to the Coronavirus pandemic, where possible, the certificates were presented individually by Chief Constable Lisa Winward. She said: “Our officers and staff have acted with compassion, humanity and professionalism in difficult and distressing circumstances. I am proud of them and pleased that the Royal Humane Society has recognised their actions. It is important to acknowledge the unseen work of our officers. I also want to acknowledge and thank the members of the public who have faced very distressing situations, for their quick and selfless actions.”

 Some of the recipients have chosen not to have any publicity about their award, therefore some names are not included.


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