Nathan wins regional bravery award after river rescue

PC Nathan Davies with Welsh deputy minister for social partnership Hannah Blythyn and Steve Hartshorn, the national chair of the Police Federation

A South Wales Police officer who risked his life trying to save a couple from a river bed during a raging storm has won the Welsh regional award at the national Police Bravery Awards 2022.

PC Nathan Davies travelled to London with his wife Katrina to join fellow nominees from across the country at a Downing Street reception hosted by Home Secretary Priti Patel who praised their “incredible courage”.

He then attended a presentation ceremony and received his prestigious award from Welsh deputy minister for social partnership Hannah Blythyn in front of guests including South Wales Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan and Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael.

Speaking after the event, Nathan said: “It feels brilliant and it’s nice to be acknowledged. You feel you don’t deserve it because you see officers doing everything in their service.”

The incident which earned his citation began to unfold when Nathan responded to an emergency call just after 10pm on 12 August 2020 when reports came in of a woman screaming for help in the River Clydach in Swansea.

The Met Office had issued weather warnings for flooding and thunderstorms that day and when Nathan and his colleague arrived at the scene in a wooded location it was pitch black and treacherous underfoot due to the time of night and storms.

Two individuals were spotted 30ft below the riverbank in the middle of the river. One was unresponsive and the other was badly injured.

Despite the obvious danger, Nathan, who is a trained public order medic, took the decision to make his way down onto the river bed and, in doing so, he knocked himself unconscious.

After regaining consciousness, on his hands and knees, he made his way to the two casualties.

Nathan started CPR on one of them and, after around 10 minutes, other officers started to reach the scene.

The fire service arrived and used a defibrillator on one of the injured people while Nathan continued to work on their airway.

He became increasingly aware of his own injuries and was in significant pain in his back, right hip and knee. When paramedics arrived, he was unable to stand unaided.

After triage at the scene by paramedics, it became clear the officer could not get out of the river unaided and he had to be winched from the river bed by the fire service.

He spent the night in Morriston Hospital with concussion and soft tissue damage to his knee, thigh, hip and back and was off work for 17 days recuperating.

South Wales Police Federation chair Steve Treharne said:  “It was an honour to attend the Police Bravery Awards with Nathan and Katrina.

“He showed incredible courage that night in some of the most challenging circumstances imaginable and I am so pleased his bravery has been properly recognised with this award.

“Bodycam footage captured that night by PC McCourt helps visualise the scene that confronted PC Davies and his colleagues that night.

“But without a second’s hesitation or concern for his own safety he went to the assistance of a badly injured couple and did everything he could to help despite being knocked out and injured himself.

PC Nathan Davies with Welsh deputy minister for social partnership Hannah Blythyn

“It is telling that he only started to realise the severity of his own injuries when colleagues and other emergency services teams arrived at the scene to assist.

“This is yet another example of a police officer willing to risk his own life to save others and Nathan deserved to be recognised for the incredible courage he displayed that night.”

Speaking at the Downing Street reception, Ms Patel told the nominees: “I am delighted to be able to celebrate with you, once again, the incredible courage of a remarkable group of police officers.

“Your work involves an extraordinary degree of sacrifice that should never be taken for granted. These awards play an important part in ensuring your deeds are recognised.

“I would like to thank the organisers of the 2022 awards, the Police Federation, and Police Mutual for their continued support for the event.”

The officers also received warm praise and a message of thanks from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He said: “These acts of bravery, honoured here today by your colleagues and the public, are outstanding and in the finest traditions of policing. I salute each and every one of the fantastic nominees at the awards. You are truly the best of the very best.

“It is absolutely right and proper that we honour and celebrate the work of our brave men and women in uniform who work day in and day out to protect the public.

“The progress we are making towards recruiting 20,000 more officers gives me full confidence that together we will make our streets safer. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

In his speech at the awards ceremony, Police Federation national chair Steve Hartshorn said: “Tonight, we heard extraordinary stories of bravery, selflessness and acts of courage that are not just part of the job.

“The bravery shown by these nominees is truly outstanding. From putting their own lives at risk to save others, facing violent attackers and terrifying weapons, to rescuing people from perilous situations in fast flowing water or stranded hundreds of feet in the air, they have faced danger head on.”


The annual bravery awards are organised by the Police Federation and sponsored by Police Mutual.

This year’s overall winner was Lincolnshire Police’s PC Steven Denniss who was stabbed as he tackled a double murder suspect he has spotted while off duty and out walking his dogs.