Bravery award 2018 winner
Laura Matthews works as a call handler at the public service centre at a South Wales Police headquarters.
One evening in the summer of 2015, Laura Matthews was alone driving in the South Wales area, when she came across an extremely violent confrontation between 2 men. One of them was already covered in blood. It was only having left the relative safety of her car and finding herself physically in between both men and trying to part them, that she realised that the older man was in fact still in possession of a hammer. Laura neither flinched nor took a backward step – instead engaging with the older male in the heat of the conflict, persuading him to hand the hammer over. He did and she placed it near the kerb, but in doing so immediately recognised that both men were setting upon each other once more with such force that one had knocked the other down and the confrontation continued aggressively. Laura then removed the hammer placing it inside her car. Returning to the fighting men she tried to place herself between them and by this time she was aware that she was surrounded by 10 to 15 men – none of whom made any effort to intervene. Laura persevered even though she feared being hurt herself. Once diffused, Laura then began to administer first aid to the older man.
The attack over, she remained calm and professional at the scene, co-ordinating the responses of both police and ambulance colleagues - calling upon her extensive experience at the PSC in the provision of first-hand information to best prepare attendees to deal with what they were about to be faced with.