Keynsham PCSOs honoured after saving man's life
Published on: 30 Jun 2017
Two Keynsham PCSOs who saved a man’s life while risking their own were among officers honoured at an awards ceremony that celebrated bravery, professionalism and dedication to policing.
PCSOs Sarah Hewlett and Christopher Purvey received Royal Humane Society Commendations at the force awards in Bristol on June 19 in front of colleagues, Chief Constable Andy Marsh, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens, the High Sheriff of Bristol Anthony Brown, and Angela Yeoman OBE.
Responding to reports of a drunk and aggressive man sleeping rough in a car in Keynsham in February last year, PCSO Hewlett called for back-up from PCSO Purvey when the man told her he wanted to end his life.
The situation became volatile when the man poured petrol over himself, covering the two officers, and threatened to set himself alight.
The PCSOs spent the next 20 minutes restraining the man and trying to calm him down as he repeatedly tried to grab a box of matches from the car. He was eventually arrested and detained under the Mental Health Act.
A force spokesman said: “PCSOs Hewlett and Purvey acted with extreme bravery, putting their duty before their own safety and their instinctive actions and communication skills saved this man’s life. For their professionalism and skill, they are awarded the Royal Humane Society Commendation.”
There were also Chief Constable’s Commendations for 16 officers, including Keynsham beat manager PC James Evans, in recognition of their actions in the aftermath of the fatal tipper truck crash in Bath, which left four dead in February 2015, including four-year-old Mitzi Steady.
The group were honoured for the team commitment and professionalism they showed as they worked at the scene of the tragedy in the early stages of the investigation, providing support and comfort to distressed and traumatised people and establishing a secure area to preserve evidence.
A spokesman said: “They secured witnesses and provided welfare checks and ensured the deceased were treated with dignity and respect, staying with them for a long time until they were removed from the scene.
“The area remained secure and the road closed for three days, with officers all working tirelessly to secure the area and maintain cordons. This greatly aided what would become a complex 22-month investigation, which led to the conviction of two men for four counts of gross negligence manslaughter in December 2016.”
Those receiving the commendation were: PC James Evans, PC Caroline Davey, DC David Ives, PC Sean Vine, Inspector Sarah Treweek, PC Daniel Wallwork, Anthony Unthank (now retired), Chief Inspector Paul Underhill, Inspector Clive Summerill, PCSO Brian Harris, PC Douglas Whapples, PC Michael Dyne, PC Jason Smith and PC Louise Newton, all from Avon and Somerset Constabulary, and PC Alan Kyne and Sergeant Scott Hill from Wiltshire Constabulary.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “As the Queen said recently in her birthday celebrations, it’s a sombre time for the country at the moment. But today is a chance to reflect on all the amazing and important work you do. I don’t get the chance often enough to say thank you, so it’s wonderful to have that opportunity today.
“In my view there are three things which make the world of policing go round: firstly, it’s knowing that this is one of the most important roles you will do in your lives, right at the heart of society; secondly, you have optimism and hope that the future can be better, and you help the people you deal with to feel this way too; and thirdly, you do your job with caring and compassion in your heart. Thank you for all that you do.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mounstevens said: “The Chief Constable has used words today like ‘jaw-dropping’ to describe what you do, and he is right. The work you do is so important. You get up in the morning, not knowing what you’re going to be faced with at work. I’m delighted to be here and so proud to share this special day with you, your friends and family.
“I, like most people here, watched the coverage of the Landsdown Lane incident in Bath with horror and sadness. I could turn the news off, but you couldn’t and what you saw that day will stay with you forever.
“You are indicative of and represent all that’s great about everyone who works for Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Well done.”