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Three Northumbria officers win national Police Bravery Award

14 Jul 2017 12:00 PM

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Three Northumbria Police officers graced the national policing stage as they won the Police Bravery Award at the 22nd Police Bravery Awards ceremony held in London's Dorchester Hotel last night (Thursday, July 13).

PCs Sarah Currie and Michael Otterson together with Sergeant Elliott Richardson were honoured in front of police colleagues from around the country as they took to the stage to receive their award.

Chief Constable Steve Ashman was at the ceremony to see the officers receive their award along with the Northumbria Police Federation Chairman Inspector Jim Gray.

The three officers were on duty in Gateshead when they answered a call from a community nurse concerned for a patient who had a history of violence, schizophrenia and paranoia.

Following their enquiries they established the patient was at an address in Gateshead and the officers followed the man to a public house.

As PCs Currie and Otterson opened the pub door, they were confronted by a man in the foyer holding a firearm and there was a violent and lengthy struggle as they tried to stop him from aiming the gun at them.

They were quickly joined by Sgt Richardson and the struggle continued; the firearm discharged by the man as the officers tried to gain control of the weapon.

After a sustained struggle and with help from a member of the public in the premises, the man was eventually over-powered and disarmed.

When his bag was searched they found two handguns, a crossbow, a pack of throwing knives, home-made petrol bombs, smoke grenades and a baseball bat inside.

Chief Constable Ashman said: "I am very proud of each of the officers for the outstanding bravery they have shown. A dangerous man intent upon causing serious harm was successfully detained by unarmed officers determined to protect communities and their colleagues. This highlights with unmistakable clarity the courage of each of them as they literally fought for their lives. They may well view what they did as little other than their duty, it was much more than that and it speaks volumes about their individual character. It is both humbling and uplifting to be in their company, they are true heroes in every sense of the word."

Sergeant Richardson said: "Just even to get here is amazing. And then when we won the regional award I was delighted, so to then hear our force called at the end, I just don’t know what to say. Thank you very much. The chief is very passionate about his frontline staff and it was so nice to be sat with him. As he comes to the end of his service I’m sure it will be a night he’ll remember for his force."

PC Currie added: "It’s unbelievable. I was sat back chilling, thinking we wouldn’t have to go on the stage again. I didn’t know what was happening when they called out Northumbria. Thank you so much."

PC Otterson said: "Every one of those stories deserves recognition, it has been an inspiring day and we are so proud to have won this award."

Northumbria’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC said “Once again Northumbria Police officers have shown why they are the very best. I am delighted that the bravery of Sarah, Michael and Elliott has been recognised at this year’s National Police Bravery Awards. These officers entered a dangerous situation and used their skills and bravery to ensure the safety of local residents. Northumbria is rightly proud of Sarah, Michael and Elliott, they deserve this recognition and are an inspiration to colleagues across the country. Well done.”

Inspector Gray added: "These brave officers thought they were fighting for their lives in what was an incredibly dangerous and volatile situation and we are lucky to have officers who fought so hard to ensure not only the safety of the public, but their own.”
PCs Currie and Otterson and Sgt Richardson were all honoured at Northumbria Police's Pride in Policing Awards earlier this year where they won the Tony Teare Memorial Award, given annually to officers deemed to have shown outstanding merit.