The Awards Committee unanimously voted to award PS Darren Laurie and PC Keith Malda the Police Medal following their extraordinary bravery and lifesaving acts at two separate terrorist incidents, for which they were awarded both the Bronze Medal and Second Award clasp. This is an exceptionally rare award and pictures of the medal with clasp can be seen below.
On the afternoon of 22 March 2017, a terrorist drove his vehicle along Westminster Bridge, deliberately running down pedestrians. The terrorist went on to attack Westminster Palace. The attack resulted in 4 killed and 49 casualties, many with critical injuries. It was a confusing and very dangerous situation and the nominees were unsure about the whereabouts of the attacker, or if further attacks would follow as gunshots had been fired. PS Darren Laurie PC Keith Malda and colleagues were the very first police officers to respond to this incident, arriving before the emergency services. In addition to implementing emergency policing activities, all were directly involved in providing lifesaving care to the victims in an uncertain environment.
PS Darren Laurie, a trained medic, ensured major incident first aid kits were deployed and immediately took charge of the officers who were dealing with casualties. He was told a woman had been knocked into the river by the suspect vehicle and her location was currently unknown. Darren ensured all marine vessels and rescue boats were aware. He conducted a triage of the bridge so he could assess the scale of the incident. He then went from casualty to casualty checking their injuries and then providing advice and guidance to the officers who were giving first aid, ensuring each casualty was being correctly treated. He organised the evacuation of the walking wounded to the hotel that had been requisitioned as a first aid post and ensured the dead were properly recorded. He continued until everyone had been evacuated from the scene. As the final casualties were removed from the area Darren took 6 officers and conducted a body search of the surrounding areas in case any casualties had collapsed unconscious and were hidden from view. He was the last officer to leave the bridge 8 hours later.
PC Keith Malda immediately conducted a visual triage of two casualties on the south side of the bridge. He assisted one of these people, Melissa Cochran, wife of Kurt Cochran who died in the attack. She had sustained extremely serious injuries. Keith then helped paramedics and a doctor with first aid, going from one casualty to the next. He searched the scene and found the woman’s dead husband and then accompanied her to hospital as the continuity officer.
Seven other officers who were involved in the Westminster Bridge attack have previously been recognised by the Society and were awarded Bronze Medals.
Only months later both officers were again involved when on the evening of 3 June 2017 terrorists drove a van indiscriminately at pedestrians on London Bridge, killing and maiming people. The terrorists continued to Borough Market, where they attacked people in pubs and restaurants. The assailants, who were armed with knives and wearing fake suicide vests, were shot dead by armed police. In total 8 innocent people died and 48 were injured. PS Darren Laurie, PC Keith Malda and their colleagues were actively trying to save lives and remove casualties from immediate danger. The situation was confusing, taxing, and very dangerous.