A DEDICATED Cardigan PCSO has won a public-voted police award for her bravery in trying to save a toddler’s life and for her support of a boy with autism.

PCSO Caryl Griffiths was presented with the 'We Care Award' at the Dyfed-Powys Police annual awards ceremony on Friday (May 10). The 'We Care Award' gives members of the public a chance to nominate police officers and staff they would like to see recognised for their work and the winner is chosen by a public vote.

PCSO Griffiths, who spent two years based in Crymych before joining the Ceredigion Rural Crime Team, received two nominations for the award.

One was from Cardigan Oxygen Therapy Centre manager Gina Fox and another from the family of two-year-old Kiara Moore, who tragically died when the car she was in rolled into the River Teifi in Cardigan in March, 2018.

PCSO Griffiths also jointly won the bravery award with PC Nick Allen for her efforts during this incident.

Kiara’s father Jet Moore said: “Caryl’s commitment to rescuing Kiara was completely and utterly selfless. When she saw the car in the River Teifi, she jumped in and swam over to get Kiara out.

“It was an amazing commitment, and as a family we are so grateful for what Caryl, and all the other officers involved on the day, did for us.

“Congratulations Caryl on winning two awards for the bravery you showed. Thank you very much.”

Mrs Fox praised the PCSO for the impact she has had on her family, as well as for her support of the Cardigan Oxygen Therapy Centre.

“My eight-year-old son Toby has autism, and had a fear of police as he thought they were going to take him away,” she said. “It caused us a lot of problems as he became petrified of anyone in uniform.

“Luckily we knew Caryl through my work as the manager of the Oxygen Therapy Centre in Cardigan. She spent a lot of time chatting to Toby and he could trust her because he knew her face from outside the police force. It’s through her that he’s got over his fear.

“He loves to come and sit and chat with Caryl, and whenever she sees him she always has a smile for him. I can’t thank her enough for that – she’s amazing.”

PCSO Griffiths has also supported the Oxygen Therapy Centre outside work by raising sponsorship through running the Cardiff Half Marathon.

“It just shows again how much she does for others in our community,” Mrs Fox said. “She really is an important asset to the police force and the many diverse communities it serves.”

After two years based in Crymych, PCSO Griffiths joined the Ceredigion Rural Crime Team, along with PC Esther Griffiths. She has relished the challenge of a new role and a new community to work with.

PC Griffiths said: “I’ve worked with Caryl closely for the last year on the Rural Crime Team, and she comes to work with a spring in her step every day. She is a joy to work with.

“I’ve not only worked with Caryl, but I’ve grown up with her so I know her very well. She loves her job and is very good at it. She is 100 per cent committed to everything she does, and gives her all to every task.”

Accepting the award, PCSO Griffiths said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Jet and Gina for nominating me, and for their kind comments, as well as to the force for all the support I’ve received.”

PCSO Griffiths said that she was also “honoured” to receive the bravery award.

“I have been reading messages on the force Facebook page, and the support is overwhelming. It was a very emotional evening, and there were really nice comments from everyone,” she added.

“I try not to think about the incident itself, but Friday night brought it all back to me. It’s nice to know that the family supported the awards and I’m very grateful for their kind words.

“It was nice to win the award alongside Nick and to have him up on stage with me.”

Chief Constable Mark Collins said: “It is an honour and a privilege to attend the force awards, and I was delighted to attend the third annual event. Each year, I am blown away by the stories that are told about our committed, inspirational and downright hard-working police officers and staff.

“Each winner and runner-up was nominated by their line manager, a peer, or a member of the public in recognition of the work they have carried out. They have made a difference to someone else’s life, and we are celebrating their successes.

“I would like to thank each nominee and winner for their work over the past 12 months, and congratulate them for their achievements.”