9 June 2022
A police officer who was slashed twice in the face as he tackled a drug-fuelled thug has been nominated for the national Police Bravery Awards 2022 along with two colleagues who came to his aid.
Experienced officer PC Steve Reid suffered horrific injuries when he was attacked with a knife by Richard Jefford.
PC Reid was close to being “blinded or killed” as the blade narrowly missed his eyes and a major artery.
His newly-qualified colleague, PC Weronika Korbiel, then took charge of the situation before back-up arrived, and PC Stephen Fowkes used his Taser to eventually subdue and arrest Jefford.
All three Derbyshire Police officers have now been nominated for the national Police Bravery Awards which are organised each year by the Police Federation of England and Wales.
PC Reid and PC Korbiel were called to a robbery in Stables Street, Derby at around 10pm on 15 October 2019.
The suspect was behaving erratically, banging on windows and trying to get into people’s homes. PC Korbiel discharged Captor spray but to little effect.
Instead, Jefford broke into the front room of a property before being dragged out by PC Reid. Moments later, as PC Reid attempted to arrest him, Jefford slashed him across the face with a blade.
It left PC Reid, a married father-of-three and grandfather-of-two who has been an officer for 21 years, bleeding heavily from substantial injuries.
In putting forward PC Reid for the award, Sergeant Jonathan Dillon said: “While reviewing the body-worn video, I was immensely proud of Steve for moving forward without hesitation into the home of a member of the public after this violent offender forced his way in.
“When Steve was slashed with the knife he continued to engage with the control room and stay focused on the task at hand.
“He stepped forward and was injured as a result of trying to prevent the offender from going into another member of the public’s home.
“If Steve hadn’t risked his own safety to stop this from happening it is not a stretch to imagine members of the public falling victim to this male’s appalling behaviour.”
With PC Reid seriously injured, PC Korbiel took charge of the incident, ushering people back into their homes while keeping Jefford in sight.
In his citation, PS Dillon said: “PC Korbiel showed courage, determination and professionalism during an incident in which she witnessed a more experienced officer become seriously injured.
“She remained engaged and stood her ground, despite the aggressive behaviour of a dangerous person intent on escape.
“It’s a real testament to her character that despite the fear I imagine she was experiencing, she still managed to do her job and do it to a high standard. PC Korbiel should be immensely proud of herself.”
When reinforcements arrived, PC Fowkes eventually used his Taser to reduce the risk of more officers being injured.
PS Dillon explained: “PC Fowkes could be heard by everyone on the street challenging the suspect, which no doubt provided reassurance to PC Korbiel and PC Reid, and members of the public who were also present.
“PC Fowkes delivered a robust challenge to the suspect demonstrating police officers will step forward to protect members of the public in difficult circumstances.”
In July last year, Jefford was jailed for 10 years and 10 months after admitting wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, robbery, criminal damage, and possession of crack cocaine and heroin.
Judge Robert Egbuna described his attack as “a drug-fuelled, uncontrollable, violent rampage”.
The judge added: “It was a horribly dangerous weapon and the injuries speak volumes. You could have killed the officer, you could have blinded the officer. It was sheer luck neither of these happened .You have left him with permanent scarring.”
After returning to work when he had recovered from his injuries, PC Reid became a Derbyshire Police Federation workplace representative so that he could offer support to colleagues and in December he took on the role of the branch’s health and safety lead.
PS Dillon’s citations were supported by the Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Dave Cox, who is also the chair of Derbyshire’s branch of the Police Superintendents’ Association. An awards panel chaired by Deputy Chief Constable Kate Meynell and including representatives from the Police Federation, the Superintendents’ Association, HR and UNISON unanimously supported the officers’ nominations for Chief Constable’s Commendations.
The bravery awards take place in London in July. The annual awards honour some of the finest officers in England and Wales who have performed incredible acts of bravery, while on or off duty.