Parks Police Will Now Treat Sudden Heart Attacks

Officers trained to use life saving devices

Officers in Wandsworth’s parks events and policing team can now add saving lives to their list of skills, after becoming the first organisation in the borough to win accreditation from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) in the use of defibrillators.

The officers, who are employed in the council’s events support service (ESS), are all now fully trained to operate these life saving devices – which are used to treat people who’ve had a sudden heart attack.

Every year more than 10,000 people in London suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. This means their heart has stopped, blood is no longer being pumped around their bodies and they are clinically dead. In these cases the only effective way to restart the heart and save the patient’s life is to use a defibrillator.

As well as being fully trained to use the machines, the ESS officers also have full first aid training, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The service has three semi-automatic defibrillator machines, which are carried in the officers’ vehicles and can be brought into immediate action if they come across a cardiac arrest patient while they are patrolling Wandsworth’s parks and open spaces.

According to the LAS, the correct use of a defibrillator can mean the difference between life and death for anyone who’s suffered a heart attack. "The longer they go without emergency life-support, the harder it is to restart their heart. A defibrillator is a machine used to give an electric shock to restart a patient's heart when they are in cardiac arrest. If there were more public-access defibrillators, more people could get the life-saving shock as quickly as possible, giving them the best chance of survival.”

Echoing this message the LAS’s medical director Dr Fionna Moore MBE added: “Over 10,000 people in London collapse and stop breathing every year and for more people to survive a cardiac arrest, more public places need to have defibrillators.

“Having easy access to defibrillators and people knowing basic life-support skills will only help to save more lives.”

Wandsworth’s public safety spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “In a way I hope the officers never have to use their defibrillators, but I know that if their help is ever needed, then their training and this vital resuscitation equipment could help save a life.”

The events support service provides policing and stewarding resources to public events that take place in local parks and open spaces. They also liaise closely with and work in support of the Met Police’s safer parks team that patrols Wandsworth’s parks, commons and green spaces.

For more information about the LAS’s defibrillator accreditation scheme visit

February 4, 2014