A Blackpool Police community support officer is being credited with potentially saving the life of a man who ‘flatlined' after collapsing in the street.
PCSO Tom Cowell was on patrol as part of a week-long operation to tackle begging, drug and alcohol abuse in Blackpool when the incident happened on Thursday.
He gave the man, who had stopped breathing, CPR for several minutes before paramedics arrived and were able to revive him.
Sgt Iain Andrew, who is in charge of the policing side of the joint operation, made clear PCSO Cowell had gone beyond simply performing his duty when what started as a routine patrol became a life and death battle.
He said: “The patrol had just turned into Queen Street when we spotted a man who, at first glance, looked to be under the influence of some kind of substance.
“Just as we got to him he collapsed in front of us.
“PCSO Cowell identified the man looked unconscious.
“At that point he had a pulse and was breathing.
“PCSO Cowell put him into the recovery position, assisted by PCSO Lauren Taylor.”
At that point matters took a dramatic twist, as Sgt Andrew explained.
He said: “PCSO Cowell noticed the man’s lips going blue.
“There were signs things were not good and the man had stopped breathing
“He had no pulse.
“At that point PCSO Cowell was just a wonderful example of quick thinking and professsionalism.
“He acted on instinct, turning the man over and commencing CPR.
“It felt like a long time but it was only maybe three minutes until the ambulance arrived and we were able to hand the man over to paramedics.
“They were able to give him injections to stabilise him and counter the effects of whatever he had taken.”
While PCSO Cowell carried out CPR on the man, officers and outreach staff searched for a defibrilator, without success.
And paramedics were clear PCSO Cowell’s intervention had been vital.
Sgt Andrew said: “It would not be unreasonable to say this man was extremely lucky we were so close.
“He collapsed right in front of us and an ambulance was called at that point.
“Had PCSO Cowell not been there to sustain him until the ambulance arrived we might have been dealing with a very different scenario.
“The senior paramedic said PCSO Cowell had saved the man’s life, he had flatlined.
“We went out to try to change lives and PCSO Cowell has have saved one.”
The week-long operation in Blackpool town centre ended yesterday.
As well as police, outreach workers from Blackpool Housing Options, Horizon drug and alcohol services and officials from Blackpool Council have been on hand delivering support and advice.
Community protection warnings and community protection notices have also been issued, with an number of people being referred to the courts.
As a result of the week’s actions four people are in the process of being given criminal behaviour orders.