An officer or member of staff who has distinguished herself by an act of bravery or heroism at risk of her own personal safety or in the face of great danger above and beyond the call of duty.
Award sponsored by Nicola Hughes Foundation
JOINT WINNER - Police Constable Sam Clark, Northamptonshire Police (and her dog Redd)
‘Sam kept hold of the male with one arm and kept her dog afloat…’
Sam was on duty with her Police Dog Redd when a stolen 4x4 and trailer activated an ANPR camera. A marked police car located the stolen vehicle, which duly failed to stop. The vehicle also collided with another vehicle driven by a member of the public. The vehicle failed to stop and made off where a police pursuit continued. The vehicle stopped and the driver made good his escape, running over both dual carriageways to try to evade arrest. Sam saw the fleeing driver run across the carriageways and disappear into the undergrowth.
Sam and Redd began tracking the offender down a heavily overgrown embankment. Sam released Redd and both of them pursued the offender to the bottom of the embankment leading into open water. The wanted driver was wading through the water with Redd swimming behind. Sam entered the water in pursuit even though the water is at chest height. Sam shouted at the offender, which eventually caused him to stop and surrender. However when Sam went to detain him he attempted to consume a quantity of tablets so, whilst still managing both her dog and in deep water Sam managed to prise the tablets out of his hands and discarded them to prevent him from causing himself any harm. Sam then called for assistance while holding this resisting male in a bear hug. When one of her colleagues arrived Sam kept hold of the male with one arm and kept her dog afloat with the other allowing other officers to safely enter the water and affect the arrest for attempted murder, dangerous driving and failing to stop to which he pleaded guilty.
JOINT WINNER – Police Constable Debbie Wishart, Northamptonshire Police.
‘Debbie is commended for her coolness in the face of lethal resistance and for diligence in pursuing an offender under such extreme circumstances’.
The police received an emergency call from a woman who was in fear of her ex-partner who had arrived at her home demanding money. In company with her colleague, Debbie responded to this call and was greeted by a drunk male who was also known to have mental health issues and a history of violence using knives. Debbie and her colleague confronted the male who immediately produced a large kitchen knife and threatened them with it. PAVA spray was deployed with no effect and the offender rushed towards the officers and stabbed Debbie’s colleague, the officer was able to deliver a baton blow, which broke the offenders arm, but this didn’t stop the offender fighting and Debbie threw her baton with full force at the offenders head. The offender threw the knife at the officers and tried to run off. Debbie and her colleague caught him, tackled him to the ground and arrested him. Debbie is commended for her coolness in the face of lethal resistance and for diligence in pursuing an offender under such extreme circumstances. During interview, the offender admitted that he intended to gain entry into the premises and assault his ex-partner and her teenage son. This incident was captured by body worn video and has since been used on national television and in UDT training as it shows the types of threats officers can face in their day-to-day work.
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Police Constable Zoe Walker, Essex Police
‘Zoe was able to display the traits of an exceptional police officer in being completely objective…’
On a September evening, a heavily built man, reputed locally to be involved in organised crime and have access to firearms was enjoying an evening with his two young children and a friend at his small-holding.
A criminal associate arrived that evening in company with another man intending to cause him significant harm. The criminal associate walked over to him and punched him in the face 5 times to head, knocking him unconscious. He then struck his friend several times on his head, stomach and torso using a pickaxe handle. Even though he was unconscious, criminal associate continued to assault him; creating two gaping wounds to his head and causing multiple fractures, which resulted in his death.
Zoe was on routine patrol with a colleague when they responded to a call to this incident. On arrival, the place was in darkness. Zoe approached and began performing CPR on him even though the act of CPR was causing blood to push back into her own mouth. Not surprising Zoe was sick but upon arrival of paramedics, Zoe conveyed what she had done and answered their questions whilst continuing with CPR. With the paramedics in attendance, Zoe went to speak to his young son who had witnessed his father’s murder. Zoe displayed compassion and empathy as she tried to take initial evidence from him to identify the offender.
This incident shows that Zoe was able to display the traits of an exceptional police officer in being completely objective no matter what she knew about the criminal background of this family and putting aside her own safety in trying to save a man’s life.