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Armed response police officer hailed a hero after saving two lives in two days

PC Rich Shea with North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin. Picture Mandy Jones

An “exceptional” police hero is being put forward for two top honours after helping to save two lives in just two days.

Armed response officer PC Richard Shea is being nominated for an official commendation from North Wales Police and a Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society award.

News of his heroics emerged during a visit by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin to the Alliance Armed Policing Unit.

Like the other members of the armed response team, PC Shea, who joined North Wales Police in 2013 and became a member of the unit three years later, has been trained in advanced trauma care and they all have a bag packed with high level medical kit.

The first life-saving incident happened when he and his partner, PC Damien Boyle, responded to a medical emergency on the eastbound carriageway of the A55 near Broughton.

They were going in the opposite direction when they spotted that a person was receiving Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in a layby on the other side of the dual carriageway.

After doubling back at the next junction, PC Shea assessed the condition of the woman and found that “she was not breathing, didn’t have a heartbeat, wasn’t conscious and was essentially dead”.

PC Shea said: “My oppo got an igel airway fitted, attached an oxygen cylinder via a Bag-Valve-Mask and I took over the CPR relieving the partner of the casualty giving breaths.

“There was a member of the public who was at the scene with the casualty doing CPR and there was also the partner of the casualty who was giving breaths at the time we arrived.

“I took over the compressions and we also got a defibrillator and administered a shock. The defib advised another shock which we administered.

“Two ambulances and an air ambulance turned up and she was stretchered into an ambulance where as a result of the care given her heart rate was brought back again.

“A traffic officer then followed up to check at hospital and this person had gone through surgery, so the last update we had was that things were improving.

“The second incident happened a day and a half later. There was another person who’d suffered what was suspected to be a cardiac arrest – not conscious, not breathing, on a caravan site near Rhyl.

“On that day I was working as a single crew near Llandudno Junction and my skipper, Sergeant Adam Sargeant, and PC Gary Faulkner, were at another location.

“So, we came from two separate locations to the scene and when I got there two local officers from Rhyl were working on the casualty and members of the family were there watching.

“Again, this person had no pulse, no breathing, essentially not with us really so we opened the trauma pack.

“I asked someone to do CPR while I sorted out the igel and the oxygen and then I did CPR, taking it in turns with Gary Faulkner and other people at the scene.

“The ambulance turned up and I carried on doing the CPR in the ambulance, the paramedics were conducting their checks, as a result of the CPR her heart started beating on its own again prior to the ambulance wheels rolling, so there was a good recovery there.

“Obviously, we’re police armed response officers, not paramedics but the nature of the job we do means we are called to a lot of medical emergencies. Often we bridge the gap until the ambulance arrives.

“Sadly, CPR doesn’t always work but there is always a good chance of bringing someone back and getting a heartbeat and rhythm again.

“The training is extremely good. We do advanced trauma care, and we can pretty much take care of anything pre-hospital with what we carry in the medical kit bag.”

Chief Inspector Simon Newell, who is in charge of the Armed Response Alliance – shared and run jointly by the North Wales and Cheshire forces – was “immensely proud” of PC Richard Shea’s skill in helping to save two lives in such a short space of time.

He said: “It just goes to show that what we are not just about firearms officers.  The team brings a whole lot more to policing and protecting the community and keeping them safe, rather than just responding to firearms incidents.  They are trained to an immensely high level, not far off paramedic standard.

“Their primary function is to save lives and that is what we do in whichever way possible.

“They carry the firearms to protect the public, to save lives because there are certain incidents that we go to which can only be resolved through the use of firearms.

“However, that is very last resort, and we will always seek to save life once we’ve discharged firearms as well.

“We’ve nominated Rich for a commendation and we’re planning to nominate him for the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society Award which is an award specifically for saving lives.”

The nominations were welcomed by Commissioner Dunbobbin who said: “Officers like PC Rich Shea are real-life heroes.

“They provide a vital service and frequently put their own lives on the line. It would be naïve of us not to be prepared or to have anything planned to combat these terrible situations that can arise.

“However, I am sure not many people would realise that armed response officers are also trained to near enough paramedic standard. As well as enforcing the law, they protect life in whatever way they can.

“People like PC Rich Shea are very special. What he has done in saving two lives is incredible. He is clearly an exceptional officer and a credit to the force. He is fully deserving of being honoured for his heroic, life-saving actions.

“I can’t thank him and his colleagues enough for everything they do in protecting and saving lives. God bless them all.”