Why Joanne Smith is a national hero
PUBLISHED: 14:51 19 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:10 19 July 2019
A hero police officer who intervened in an armed robbery in Essex has received a prestigious bravery award for her actions.
Dc Joanne Smith was off duty and leaving a yoga session in Colchester last year when she witnessed two men armed with metal bars attempting to break into a jewellery store.
Dc Smith chased the men through the town and detained one of them with the help of members of the public until local police officers arrived.
The detective constable, who has been an officer for nearly 16 years, was the eastern winner at the National Police Bravery Awards, which were held in London on Thursday night.
In February this year, DC Smith was also presented with a Chief Constable Commendation from the Essex Chief in recognition and appreciation of her bravery and selflessness.
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She said: "I feel very humble and privileged to have received the regional bravery award. I feel I did what anyone else would have done but it is nice to have it recognised."
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Chief constable at Suffolk police Steve Jupp said: "I am very proud of what Joanne did that day and extremely pleased her bravery has been recognised by her peers.
"Despite being off-duty, and without thinking of her own safety, Joanne saw a crime happening and ran over to apprehend one of the suspects. Joanne's actions were in the finest traditions of Suffolk Constabulary."
Darren Harris, chairman of Suffolk Police Federation, said: "It's often said that police officers are never off duty and yet again this incident just proves that.
"Joanne was on her own, without any police kit and back up still some time away and she ran towards the danger to keep people safe. She is a credit to Suffolk Constabulary and we are very proud of her."
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Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, said: "I'd like to express my hearty congratulations to Joanne, she thoroughly deserves this prestigious award.
"Suffolk should be very proud of Joanne. It just shows that our police officers are prepared step into a situation without hesitation even when they are off-duty.
"I'd like to add my personal thanks to Joanne for her dedication to helping to keep us safe."
The awards are held by the Police Federation of England and Wales and sponsored by Police Mutual to recognise police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.