A West Mercia Police contact handler has been praised after he helped save the life of a man who was trapped in his car in floodwater.

On Saturday morning (21 October) Peter Bridges, who works in the force’s operations and communications centre (OCC), answered a 999 call from a man who was stranded in the River Teme at Eastham, near Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire.

Gary Bowman, who now lives in Ludlow, was travelling from his home to Worcester Parkway to catch the train to watch Leeds United when he was caught in the rising water levels.

Peter, who lives in Worcester, remained on the phone with Mr Bowman for over an hour while police officers and other emergency services located him.

During that time, Peter, who has worked for the force for 13 months, used his skills to keep Mr Bowman engaged to obtain key information.

He reassured him in very difficult circumstances, kept him calm and was able to direct rescue services to him.

Gary is now recovering at home from his ordeal.

He said: “I want to say thank you to Peter for all he did for me. He is an absolute diamond.

“I thought I was staring death in the face as the water level got higher in my car but Peter kept me calm and helped me get through it all”.

Head of Operations, Chief Superintendent Gareth Morris, said: “This is one example of the truly fantastic work our Public Contact teams deliver every minute, of everyday, 365 days a year.

“They deal with incident after incident and it takes a very special set of qualities to show patience, professionalism, compassion and efficiency to support communities and people in their time of need.

“The calls our team receive are often distressing and very challenging and I would like to thank Peter in the way he handled this incident. It took time to locate the man and Peter kept him engaged to obtain key information. He reassured him in very difficult circumstances and was able to direct rescue services to him. Thankfully the man is recovering at home from his ordeal”.

This week (23 – 29 October) is International Control Room Week which brings control room teams from around the world together to spread the word about the amazing work that control rooms do.