Brave Pcs get special recognition

A COURAGEOUS policewoman recognised for her bravery by police top brass today told how she did not think twice before giving chase to a samurai sword-wielding attacker.

A COURAGEOUS policewoman recognised for her bravery by police top brass today told how she did not think twice before giving chase to a samurai sword-wielding attacker.

Pc Charlotte Bowen, 26, was in Stoke Street in Ipswich when a man ran up to her and begged her to protect him from a man with a knife.

When the assailant, Asso Omar, came into view, she saw the knife was in fact a full-size samurai sword.

And, apparently undeterred by the presence of a uniformed police officer, he continued to run at the frightened man and attempted to stab him.

Pc Bowen, who has been an officer with Suffolk police for four years, said: “I shouted at him to drop the weapon, but he kept hold of it and ran off towards Rectory Road.

“I chased him for a while and then he stopped, turned around and brandished the sword at me.”

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Fortunately moments later help arrived when another patrol car and two officers arrived at the scene with sirens blaring, and Omar dropped the weapon and surrendered.

Omar, 21, of Grimwade Street, Ipswich, who has lived in the country since 2002, was sentenced to a year in prison for affray and possessing an offensive weapon on July 30 this year.

On his release, he may face deportation.

The court heard how he and four friends had become involved in a fight with two other men on April 8, and Omar had taken the sword from the home of a friend to join in the fray.

At the conclusion of the hearing Pc Bowen's bravery was praised by Judge John Holt who said if it was not for her actions serious injury was certain to have been caused.

And she received further recognition this week when she was given the Chief Constable's Commendation at an awards ceremony held at the force headquarters in Martlesham Heath.

Pc Bowen said: “I did not think about my own safety at the time - someone came and asked for my help and I knew I had a duty to protect that person.

“It is nice to be recognised for what we do though - a lot of the time, officers do very brave things trying to help people out, and it often goes unrecognised.”

FIGHTING to keep a man standing in a pool of petrol from setting himself alight, and entering a smoke-filled flat to rescue an unconscious resident, were two of the amazing acts recognised at Suffolk police's annual awards.

Sgt Murray Osman, Pc Malcolm Innes, Pc Denise Peachey and Pc Chris Squirrel were called to Bloomfield Street, Ipswich, to a man who had doused himself and his girlfriend's car in petrol.

Attempts to stun the man using a baton gun failed, and as the man tried to spark a lighter and set himself on fire the four officers leapt on him in an attempt to avert tragedy.

Pc Osman said: “I had my hands around his hand, and was trying to stop him igniting the lighter - while all of us were standing in a pool of petrol.

“The adrenalin kicked in afterwards and I realised how much danger we had been in but you don't dwell on things like that. It would be impossible to do the job we do if we did.”

Eventually the man, Gavin Walker, 27, of Stanley Avenue, was tackled with parva spray by Pc Peachey, and restrained.

He later faced magistrates where he was charged with criminal damage to the car and threatening behaviour to the police officers, and was handed an 18-month community order with 80 hours' unpaid work.

All four of the officers involved were awarded the chief constable's commendation, alongside Pc Robert Hinson and Pc Nick Rush for their daring rescue of a man from a smoke-filled, burning flat.

The officers were speaking to a driver after pulling a car over in Vernon Street, Ipswich, when they heard shouts for help from a nearby block of flats and a man came running over saying there was a fire and his friend was inside.

Pc Hinson said: “I could see thick, black smoke inside in the stairwell, so we used our jumpers to cover our faces and help us breathe.

“After entering the flat we couldn't see anything except smoke but eventually we made out a light coloured shape - it turned out to be the bald head of the man we were looking for, who was unconscious on a sofa.”

The two officers picked the man up and were able to retrace their steps out of the flat to safety.

Pc Hinson said: “The man came round quickly after we got him into the fresh air, and after he was told what had happened he was very grateful for what we had done, and wouldn't stop thanking us.”

MORE than 20 awards were handed out at the ceremony held at the Martlesham Heath headquarters this week.

Others recognised for outstanding bravery or dedication included John Head, who received the chief constable's commendation for giving chase to a man armed with a firearm in Lowestoft town centre.

Special Superintendent Phil Benson received a certificate of merit for enthusiasm and dedication, after planning a training weekend involving 75 special constables from three forces.

And Pc Richard Wright received the Martin Smith trophy after 17 years' service, in recognition of his work within the community.

Simon Ash, chief constable of Suffolk Police, said: “I believe it is extremely important to give our officers the recognition they deserve. Every day they show courage and bravery beyond the call of duty, and I would like to thank and congratulate them for the valuable contribution they have made to communities across Suffolk.”

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