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Bravest of the brave recognised in national awards

A PC who tackled a murder suspect armed with a knife has been awarded the Federation’s top bravery award.

Officers who carried out acts of bravery in the line of duty have been recognised in national awards.

The 27th Police Bravery Awards celebrated 76 nominations received from 39 forces of eight regions in England and Wales.

The annual event in London, hosted by the Police Federation of England and Wales and sponsored by Police Mutual, honour the bravest of the brave officers for displaying outstanding commitment, while on or off duty, to saving lives and upholding the rule of law.

Among the guests were Chief Constables including Sir Dave Thompson and Pippa Mills plus College of Policing Chief Executive Andy Marsh and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper. 

Ahead of the event the officers attended a reception at Downing Street to mark their achievements. it was attended by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

This year’s overall winner is PC Steven Denniss from Lincolnshire.

The officer was walking his dogs off duty when he saw a man standing next to a bench in a hooded top staring at a member of the public. PC Denniss immediately realised this man was wanted for the murder of a young woman and her son the evening before who had died of multiple stab wounds. 

When he let go of his dogs’ leads and approached the suspect he was attacked and stabbed in the leg during the struggle that followed.

Despite his injury, PC Denniss continued to chase the individual as he ran again before other officers arrived and were guided towards their colleague’s location.

The offender received 40 years for the double murder and 21 months for the assault on PC Denniss.

Hon Mr Justice Pepperall publicly commended the officer: "I commend PC Steven Denniss for his bravery in seeking to arrest while off duty and without any backup or regard for his safety to protect members of the public."

The regional winners are:

PC Jack Ginger, PC Jessica Hamblett and PC Richard Hayes of Greater Manchester were recognised for their response to an incident in which they chased and apprehended a man who was carrying a firearm, preventing him from causing harm to the public.

PS Mike Watkins and PC Tom Swift of West Yorkshire wrestled a knifeman to the ground after he had terrorised a bus full of passengers.

Detective Constable Mark Bates of West Midlands tackled a man armed with a knife after he stabbed an individual outside school gates.

PC Nathan Davies of South Wales risked his life trying to save a couple from a riverbed during a raging storm, seriously injuring himself in the process.

 PC Aksit Ekrem of the Metropolitan Police was violently attacked with a sword but still managed to arrest the offender.

A/PS James Arrol-Barker and PC Ryan Oakley of Sussex Police were also recognised.

The inspiration Award went to PC Sean Burridge of Surrey Police. After being diagnosed with PTSD following a road collision, PC Burridge has used his own experience to support colleagues struggling with their mental health.

PFEW National Chair Steve Hartshorn said: “Across England and Wales, day in and day out, our police officers are going to extraordinary lengths protecting the public. They go to work every day, never knowing what will be ahead of them. In the face of danger and adversity, they go above and beyond their call of duty to protect all of us. 

“Their acts of courage go further than any of us could expect, the bravery shown is truly outstanding. They don’t do it for recognition or praise, they will tell you they do it because it’s their job.”

At a time when officer morale is low, the achievements clearly had an impact.

CC Mills described the event as an “incredible evening surrounded by heroes”.

Kerry McMahon White, Head of Partnerships, Police Mutual said: “I am sure I can speak on behalf of my colleagues when I say that all police officers are heroes regardless of whether you win an award or not.

“You go to work every day never knowing what you will face on your shift, putting the safety and security of the public before your own, running towards danger regardless of the personal risks you are taking.”

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