With the annual Scottish Police Federation Bravery Awards taking place next week, today we highlight more of the incredibly brave work of our Courageous Colleagues from across the country winning an award at the event on 30 November.
Ordinary people doing an extraordinary job. #ItsWhatWeDo
Today we hear how Sgt Andy Sawers and PCs Kirsteen McArthur, Carolyn Wright, Calum McDougall, David Ritchie and John Grant attended a harrowing car accident, risking their own lives to try and save others.
Six police officers who attended a harrowing collision in which a car became submerged in a flooded stream have won a Scottish Police Federation Bravery award for their attempts to rescue the children inside.
Sgt Andy Sawers, PC Kirsteen McArthur, PC Carolyn Wright, PC Calum McDougall, PC David Ritchie and PC John Grant (not pictured) rushed to the scene in December last year when a car left the road in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, and ended up in a freezing cold stream on its roof.
Two children, Amy Duguid (12) and her sister Kirsten (14), were trapped inside.
PC McDougall and PC Wright went into the water and after prising the door open with a crowbar, freed Amy from the car and helped her up onto the embankment.
Kirsteen McArthur – who has since retired – stayed with Amy following the incident and comforted family members who were understandably distraught.
PC Ritchie had also gone into the water and managed to free Kirsten, who had been fully submerged and trapped inside the car by her seatbelt. PC McDougall, PC Grant and Sgt Sawers helped to lift Kirsten out of the water and up onto the embankment.
She was unconscious and not breathing when she was freed, and PC McDougall and PC Grant administered CPR. However, despite the officers’ best efforts, Kirsten sadly died hours later in hospital.
Sgt Sawyers said: “The whole team really pulled together so well, we just got things done that needed to happen. It was dark, confusing, cold, but everyone worked out their roles and worked hard to save those girls.
“I have kids, some of the officers have kids. It’s horrendous to think that you could be watching your own child on the floor being tended to by police. So between ourselves and few others we managed to carry out some CPR on Kirsten at the side of the road and tried our best to keep her alive as long as we could. The whole team pulled together so well, we saved Amy from the river, and we kept Kirsten alive for a good length of time to allow her family to see her in hospital.”
PC Wright added: “The fact that we were able to help one person makes you feel better about the whole incident. I still think about her regularly, wonder how she’s doing now, because it must have been way more horrific for her than it was for any of us. It’s kind of good, in a sense, that we were able to at least help her.”
The officers will attend a Parliamentary reception at Holyrood on 30 November before an evening awards ceremony where an overall winner will be named. This is the third Scottish Police Federation Bravery Awards, which honour officers who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.
Andrea MacDonald, Chair of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “This was a simply horrific event for the family, and of course very difficult for the officers involved. They risked their lives to try and preserve lives. They worked very much as a team and did their very best to rescue the girls and take care of an understandably distraught family.
“We praise the courage and commitment of our colleagues in this most harrowing of incidents.
“The thoughts of the Scottish Police Federation remain with the family involved.”
The awards are sponsored by Police Mutual and the hashtag for the event is #CourageousCops.