Case study: Norfolk - injured tackling shoplifter

PC Stuart Watson

PC Stuart Watson

PC Stuart Watson suffered head injuries when he fought with shoplifters during a visit to Tesco while off duty.

The officer witnessed a man arguing with a staff member outside the store. He was brandishing a lump hammer and the officer intervened to pull the staff member out of harm’s way.

The shoplifter jumped into the back of a car that was waiting for him. PC Watson immediately pulled the door open and the man lunged forward swinging the lump hammer violently, which narrowly missed the officer’s face. He also tried to head butt him as they grappled.

PC Watson used a double palm heel technique to strike the man and attempt to disarm him, but a female passenger leaned forward and hit the officer with a large spanner. Despite being injured he refused to let the offenders escape and kept the man restrained until police units arrived.

PC Watson suffered swelling and bruising to his head and a severe headache - he was diagnosed as suffering a major concussion.

The male offender was jailed for 12 months for affray and possession of an offensive weapon, and the female who caused the blow to PC Watson was sentenced to four months.

The officer was nominated for a bravery award in 2016 for going above and beyond the call of duty. His chief superintendent called it “an outstanding act,” and all the braver as he was off duty with no protective equipment or means to call back-up.

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