Glasgow stabbings: Injured police officer describes scene he will 'never forget'

27 June 2020, 17:25

David Whyte was named as the police officer injured during Friday's attack
David Whyte was named as the police officer injured during Friday's attack. Picture: Police Scotland
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The police officer who was injured during Friday's knife attack in Glasgow has spoken out and said he will "never forget" what he witnessed.

David Whyte, 42, was named as the police officer who was seriously injured following a stabbing attack at the Park Inn hotel in Glasgow.

He is currently being treated in hospital and his condition has been updated from "critical but stable" to "stable".

Mr Whyte was one of six people injured during the incident at the city centre hotel which was housing asylum seekers. One of those is believed to be a 17-year-old from Sierra Leone.

The suspect was shot dead by police and has been named as 28-year-old Badreddin Abadlla Adam from Sudan.

Read more: Glasgow knife attack - witnesses tell of 'screams for help'

As it happened: Man shot dead by police following stabbing in Glasgow city centre

In a statement released this afternoon, PC Whyte, speaking for the first time since the attack, said: "The incident myself and colleagues faced in West George Street was extremely challenging. The scene we were confronted with is something I will never forget.

"As the first responders on scene, myself and my colleague did what all police officers are trained for to save lives.

"I would like to thank my colleagues who put themselves in harm’s way to contain this incident and assist with the vital treatment given to myself and others at the scene by other emergency services.

"Despite suffering serious injuries myself, I know that the swift actions of colleagues saved lives and prevented a far more serious incident.

"I would like to thank the medical staff at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for their outstanding care in the hours following this incident.

"Finally, I would like to thank the public for all their kind messages of support and for the good wishes from all at Police Scotland. It means a lot and has brought both myself and my family great comfort at this difficult time."

Armed police responded to the attack in Glasgow city centre
Armed police responded to the attack in Glasgow city centre. Picture: PA

Speaking about his colleague, the chair of the Scottish Police Federation, David Hamilton, described Mr Whyte as someone who was not afraid of running into dangerous situations.

Mr Hamilton said: "While I don't know David personally, I do know people who do and he is somebody who people say is an absolute rock of the shift.

"He spent all his time and his service in Glasgow city centre and was exactly the type of guy who would run into danger and deal with these things, so there's no surprise from his colleagues.

"They're just hoping that they can see him back at work soon and they can enjoy his company and character again."

Meanwhile, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said he offered his "personal support to all those affected" by the incident.

In a Police Scotland statement on Twitter, Mr Livingstone paid tribute to all the officers present at the "terrible incident" that "shocked the whole country."

"Officers have once again run into danger to protect their fellow citizens," he said.

"Their professionalism as police officers was outstanding. I pay tribute to their bravery, selflessness and commitment to protect the public."

He added: "My thoughts and very best wishes are with those who have been injured and their families, including our colleague Constable David Whyte who was seriously injured in the course of doing his duty."

Police at the scene in the aftermath of the stabbing incident in Glasgow
Police at the scene in the aftermath of the stabbing incident in Glasgow. Picture: Social media

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Friday had been "the toughest of days for Glasgow."

"My thoughts are with everyone involved," she said. "The injury of a police officer, of course, reminds us of the bravery of our police service. They run towards dangers as the rest of us would run away."

Mr Hamilton explained that his officers had rarely been forced into using their firearms on the nation's streets.

He said: "Police Scotland officers thankfully haven't had to use firearms on many occasions at all.

"It is, however, tragic that on this occasion that the person they shot has died, but that's something that is a risk that the officers who had to deal with that situation have to live with for the rest of their lives.

"They would not have done this had they not felt that there was a risk to their own lives or to others."

He explained that officers go through a "huge" amount of training - which lasts months and is topped up by refresher courses throughout the year - and that discharging a weapon "would have absolutely been the very last resort."

Mr Hamilton added: "All our armed police officers are trained to preserve life and the very last thing they would ever want to do is to take a life.

"The officers involved in this incident will have to deal with what they've experienced today and we will support them through that.

"But the professionalism of these officers in other incidents and scenarios gives me total confidence that they have acted with absolute professionalism and integrity."

The 17-year-old injured during the attack is said to have sustained injuries to his foot following a struggle with the attacker but is believed to be fit enough to communicate and is continuing to receive treatment.

The other injured men, who all remain in hospital, are aged 18, 20, 38 and 53.

Friday's attack is not being treated as terror-related and a formal investigation has started into the police response, which is a normal procedure for a death involving the police.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner will be involved in examining the action of officers.