Police still carrying scars honoured at annual bravery awards

UK

Unarmed police sent to arrest a man for breaching a restraining order were confronted with something far from routine – a suspect holding a gun to his head with two hidden home-made bombs in bags slung around his body. 

He was persuaded to lower his revolver but then triggered a detonator, filling the room with sparks and smoke and the fear of explosions.

Fortunately, the devices did not go off properly and officers were able to Taser and restrain the suspect.

The actions of the five Hampshire police officers and their lucky escape is one of the stories to be told tonight at the annual Police Bravery Awards.

PC Scott Thomson said: “We had talked him into lowering the gun, but he triggered one of the devices and there was thick smoke choking us and I had to do something about the bags.”

He said his former career in Navy bomb disposal was useful, up to a point.

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Officers were met with a man holding a gun

“I kicked one of the devices away, not really textbook stuff, I know, but it was very hot and I had to get it away from him,” he added.

“The easiest way was to kick it away, but because I’d known it had gone through 360-degree rotation it was unlikely there was going to be a secondary switch in there.”

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PC Scott Thomson was confronted by a man with a gun and two home-made bombs

More than 100 officers from 39 forces will be vying to be voted the bravest at a lavish dinner and ceremony organised by the Police Federation of England and Wales.

They include Nottinghamshire’s PC Chris Duffy who managed to chase and arrest a violent suspect even though he had been badly beaten and was bleeding heavily.

His dog Reno, who was also injured, is up for an award too.

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Chris Duffy and dog Reno were injured subduing a violent suspect

Passer-by’s knife attack

In Greater Manchester, three officers had just arrested a moped rider for failing to stop when a passer-by lunged at them with a knife.

The knifeman managed to stab two officers, PCs Tim Ansell and Mark Foster, inflicting slash wounds, before he was Tasered by their colleague PC Marcus Wolstencroft.

GMP’s Chief Superintendent Colette Rose said: “This particular day, these officers came into work as they do every day to continue their duties, but nothing could have prepared them for how their day would end.”

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Two officers were stabbed in this incident in Manchester

Three groups of officers have been nominated for an award from the Metropolitan Police, by far the biggest force.

PC Joe Gerrard nearly died when he and his colleague PC Alannah Mulhall tackled a suspect who had just robbed a man at knifepoint in London’s busy West End.

PC Gerrard said that neither a Taser gun, incapacitant spray or repeated baton strikes had stopped the suspect who ran off and then turned to confront officers again.

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PC Alannah Mulhall was stabbed in the arm. Her colleague, PC Joe Gerard, nearly died form his wounds

‘I had three minutes of blood left’

The officer was stabbed several times.

He said: “I had one in the arm, one in the back of the neck, one in the centre of my chest which punctured my lung, one in my rib. I was dripping blood all over and couldn’t breathe properly.

“The doctor told me later I had three minutes of blood left in me and my colleagues saved my life.”

PC Gerrard spent a year recovering from his injuries and is still in pain today.

“Whatever the situation, it’s usually unarmed officers who go in first,” he added.

“The public doesn’t always realise we put our lives on the line regularly.”

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His colleague PC Mulhall said she was worried when a Taser gun hadn’t worked on the suspect. She said: “I remember thinking that something bad was going to happen.”

She added: “He was trying to kill Joe, that was his only intent. Then he came over and he drove the knife into my arm. It was the worst day of my life.

“We are significantly under-staffed. Every day we go out and hope for the best.”

Joe and Alannah are now back at work, but like all of those nominated for tonight’s awards they carry the scars – physical and mental – from their encounters.

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