TWO police on patrol in Cowdenbeath stopped to help separate two dogs they saw fighting by the roadside and ended up saving the life of one of the owners.

Now the officers have been praised for their swift action and doctors have said that the woman would have died if they had not done what they did.

The incident happened in Foulford Road, Cowdenbeath, on the afternoon of 7 February.

PCs Scott Kirk and Louise Sneddon were on patrol in a police van when they saw the dogs fighting.

They stopped to help the owners but one of them, a woman, became unwell as they were talking.

They put her in the rear of their van and called an ambulance. However, the woman’s friend then told them that the woman had taken an overdose in an apparent suicide bid.

While they were waiting for the ambulance the woman’s condition became worse. She finally stopped breathing and had no pulse. The two officers immediately began to administer cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) which they continued while also having to deal with the woman’s partner who was aggressive and her friend who was in a state of distress.

Her breathing started and stopped several times in the 40 minutes before the ambulance arrived. She was treated on the spot by medics and began breathing again and was taken on to hospital where she went on to make a full recovery.

Now PCs Kirk and Sneddon have both been awarded Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificates for saving her life.

In addition to the awards they have also won the personal praise of Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Royal Humane Society.

“They were the right people in the right place at the right time. If CPR is to be successful it needs to be started as soon as possible after a person’s heart stops. It’s an exhausting procedure but needs to be continued until professional medical help arrives,” he said.

“The two officers in this case were on the spot when the woman stopped breathing and persevered with the CPR for 20 minutes until the ambulance arrived at the scene. They have now been credited by doctors with saving her life and they richly deserve the awards they are to receive.”

The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries. The Queen is its patron and its president is Princess Alexandra. It is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.

It was founded in 1774 by two of the day's eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan. Their primary motive was to promote techniques of resuscitation.

However, as it emerged that numerous people were prepared to put their own lives at risk to save others, the awards scheme evolved, and today a variety of awards are made depending on the bravery involved.

The Society also awards non health care professionals who perform a successful resuscitation. Since it was set up the Society has considered over 87,000 cases and made over 200,000 awards. The Society is a registered charity which receives no public funding and is dependent on voluntary donations.

It was one of a select number of organisations to receive a donation from the Patron’s fund which was set up to acknowledge work done by organisations of which the Queen is the patron, to mark her 90th birthday.