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Avon and Somerset Police officers recognised at national Police Bravery Awards

Brave officers visit Downing Street
PCs Benjamin Schofield, Yasmin Kingdon, Clare Davies and Emma Sipson

Officers from Avon and Somerset Police who confronted a hammer-wielding man were honoured at the prestigious Police Bravery Awards ceremony in London last night

PCs Clare Davies, Yasmin Kingdon, Benjamin Schofield and Emma Sipson were recognised for responding to reports of a man described as swinging a hammer wildly in the air on a Bristol street. Unknown to them, the man had already hit a member of the public on the head with the hammer and they were worried that he might attack people leaving nearby pubs.

They tried to speak with him to de-escalate the situation, but he didn’t respond and got more agitated. There was limited cover to protect the officers, so they continued to talk to him, but he refused to listen and became angrier. After both Taser and PAVA spray failed, the man threw the hammer with full force at PC Davies, narrowly missing her head. He then tried to punch PC Schofield, as PC Davies Tasered his legs while PC Kingdon deployed the PAVA, as shown in this video footage.

Together, they brought the man down and he was safely detained.

The four were highly commended. The annual Police Bravery Awards honours some of the finest officers in England and Wales who perform outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty. The awards are held by the Police Federation of England and Wales and sponsored by Police Mutual.

Recognition “humbling”

Following the ceremony, PC Emma Sipson said: “It’s a privilege to be able to go to the awards ceremony. It’s exciting to be able to go with colleagues who have supported each other; we worked as a team and it’s great to be able to share this moment with your colleagues who also put themselves on the line.”

PC Clare Davies added: “It’s very humbling to be able to go to the awards. It’s definitely a job that will stay with me in my career – I feel very lucky. It’s nice to be recognised for the award as it’s just part of the job – it’s what we do. But what happened that night happens often, these are situations that police officers from around the country are facing day in and day out.”

The impact the hammer incident had on the officers is clear. PC Yasmin Kingdom explained: “It will stay with me for a very long time, especially when I go to other jobs. I’ve been really looking forward to the awards, it’s really nice to be recognised for doing your job.”

PC Ben Schofield added: “Day in and day out, we are dealing with violent situations that seem to be increasing. It’s nice to be recognised for our work.”

“They faced a dangerous man with great courage”

Commenting on the accolade, Andy Roebuck, Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said: “The bravery and professionalism shown by these officers went above and beyond the normal call of duty. They showed exceptional bravery in incredibly dangerous circumstances. We are very proud of their outstanding actions and how determined they were in the protection of the public”.

Andy Marsh, Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police, said: ““Sadly, violence and abuse is still part of what our officers face daily while policing our communities and protecting the public from harm. The officers recognised today remained calm and determined to bring this dangerous situation to a conclusion safely, whilst selflessly reducing the threat of harm to everyone in the area. They faced a very dangerous man with great courage and we can be rightly proud of them.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, said: “I’m delighted that these four exceptional officers have been recognised at the Police Bravery Awards. It’s important to remember that every day officers put their lives on the line and deal with violent situations to keep local people safe. These four officers went showed bravery and courage in handling this situation and dealt with this incident in a safe and professional manner. The Constabulary and I are extremely proud of them.”

All the nominees well deserve this recognition. We’d like to add our congratulations to South West winner PC Jack Makowska of Devon and Cornwall Police and overall winner PC Andrew Dear of Warwickshire Police.