A St Albans police officer has been awarded a top national life-saving honour after saving a woman who took an overdose of drugs.

Special Constable Rob Dawes was flagged down by a bystander in London Colney High Street last year, where the 19-year-old woman was found slumped on a bench.

After questioning her, SC Dawes found out what drugs the woman had taken - and an ambulance had arrived at the scene.

But the woman had suffered a heart attack whilst being taken to hospital.

However, thanks to SC Dawes having been able to tell the ambulance crew what she had been taking, they were able to treat her accordingly and resuscitate her.

Hospital staff later revealed that the woman, who went on to recover, would have died if SC Dawes had not succeeded in finding out the sort of drugs involved.

Now he is being awarded a Royal Humane Society Certificate of Commendation for his role in saving her life.

He has also won the personal praise of Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Society.

Announcing the award at the Society’s London headquarters, Mr Chapman said that this had been a “life and death” situation.

He continued: “It is only thanks to the quick thinking SC Dawes in realising at once that identification of the type of drug was essential and then his perseverance in continuing to question the woman until he got the answer, that she is alive today.

“He did a wonderful job and as a result a life was saved. He richly deserves the award he is to receive.”

No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the award, but it is expected to take place soon.

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

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.