Warwickshire Police Federation - Briefing Board
Police Bravery Awards 2020 . Warwickshire Nominations
Two Warwickshire Police officers who stopped a sword-wielding man from being able to attack members of the public in a busy and bustling town centre have been nominated for The National Police Bravery Awards.
PC James Fitzmaurice and PC Andrew Hoey were dealing with another policing incident in September last year when they were flagged down by several people saying a man had been spotted near Bedworth Town Centre carrying a huge Samurai sword.
999 Calls had also been flooding into the force, saying the man was striking out with the weapon and making threats to kill.
It was clearly an emergency situation in which people's lives were at risk, so the officers decided to self-deploy. The officers found the man and incredibly bravely started to engage with him.
They challenged him several times to drop the weapon, but he failed to heed their demands. PC Hoey then deployed his Taser. The first cartridge failed, so PC Fitzmaurice used his PAVA spray to try and bring the man under control.
This gave PC Hoey the chance to use a second Taser cartridge on the suspect which eventually stopped him in his tracks, allowing the officers to detain him.
The man was found in possession of five blades in total: a massive Samurai Sword, a switchblade, a small dagger, a ceremonial sword and a hunting knife. Through their quick actions, the officers stopped him just 50 meters from the busy town centre.
The offender received a custodial sentence at Crown Court.
PC Hoey said he and his colleague knew he had to be tackled to protect the public.
"Several calls were being received from members of the public reporting a male who was stating he was going to kill his brother. I could see he was holding a black coloured Samurai sword which was three foot in length and unsheathed. We had to do something, so we made the decision to get out of the car and confront him."
PC Fitzmaurice said: "We were aware of a firearms unit that was on route but was some distance away. We had to do something, so both decided to tackle the armed man.
"He had the Samurai above his head. I also saw a secondary knife and believed he had multiple other weapons."
Warwickshire Police Federation Chairman Simon Payne said the officers' actions had been nothing short of remarkable.
"James and Andrew ran towards danger, knowing full well what they were facing. Their bravery and professionalism in protecting the public was at the forefront of their actions," he said.
"If this man had reached the busy town centre, with the weapons he was carrying that day, I really fear for what may have happened.
"The fact this incident was brought to a peaceful conclusion is huge credit to this pair. They are a credit to policing and incredibly deserving nominees for The National Police Bravery Awards."
The National Police Bravery Awards honour officers from across England and Wales who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.
As nominees, PC Fitzmaurice and PC Hoey will attend a prestigious daytime reception and evening awards ceremony in London in July 2021. The 2020 event – the 25th National Police Bravery Awards - had been scheduled to take place this past summer but had to be cancelled due to Coronavirus.
Nevertheless the Police Federation of England and Wales wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the fantastic work of all 94 nominees from across the country online from today (September 24).
John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "We are incredibly proud of all the nominees from across England and Wales. The actions of these courageous officers provide a small snapshot of the amazing work our colleagues carry out day in and day out.
"PC James Fitzmaurice and PC Andrew Hoey displayed brilliant police work and great instincts to get this situation under control. Likes so many colleagues day in, day out, they ran towards the danger to protect the public. We are very proud of them.
"As a Police Federation, we wanted to make sure these brave officers received the recognition they deserve in the year their actions were meant to be celebrated. And we look forward to seeing them all in person – and revealing regional and national winners - when the time is right in 2021."
The National Police Bravery Awards are sponsored by Police Mutual.
John Perks, Chief Executive Officer of Police Mutual, said: "Police Mutual is, as always, proud to be supporting the National Police Bravery Awards in its 25th anniversary year. Despite having to postpone the original ceremony, the officers' courage has never been forgotten – they all showed commitment to keeping the public safe in the most demanding of circumstances.
"We very much look forward to meeting all the nominated officers in July 2021 for the ceremony, and our chance to give our thanks in person."