Police Federation



A police officer who tackled a man who had choked her crew mate unconscious in a vicious assault has been nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards 2023.

PC Laura Nicholson prevented PC Adam Podam from suffering severe injury after they were attacked by two violent offenders at a house in Tibshelf.

The officers were called to a domestic incident at the property and were faced by a man and his son, who were immediately aggressive to them.

PC Podam was hit in the face with a motorbike helmet by the son and then taken to the floor by the dad where he was choked unconscious.

PC Nicholson used her PAVA incapacitant spray to repel the son and activated her emergency assistance call as she went to help her colleague.

However, she was unable to restrain the offender.

Sergeant Nathan Grant, who nominated her for the bravery awards which are organised by the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Soon realising she couldn’t match the male’s physical strength, and after the incapacitant spray had no effect on him, she changed her tactics by talking in a calming way and distracting the male who had been threatening to hospitalise both officers.

“PC Podam was unconscious by this point. She continued with this tactic, displaying excellent communication having a positive effect on calming him down.

“Eventually, she convinced him to release PC Podam allowing enough time for assistance to arrive.

“There’s no doubt if PC Nicholson had not intervened, or if she had used the wrong tactic, then the injuries would have been far worse to both officers.

“If the male had kept PC Podam in the choke hold for longer, it could have led to much more serious consequences.”

Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation, said PC Nicholson was a worthy nominee for the bravery awards and added: “This incident could so easily have ended tragically but for the actions of PC Nicholson who, despite being in such a frightening and dangerous situation, instinctively employed various tactics to tackle these two violent offenders.

“Time and time again, police officers find themselves under attack while carrying out their duties and this was a particularly nasty assault. Thankfully, due to PC Nicholson’s determination and bravery, the two men were detained, and further injuries were prevented.”

Explaining the incident and the heroic actions of the officer, Derbyshire Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “The situation that faced PC Podam and PC Nicholson was a real life and death incident. The presence of mind shown by PC Nicholson is an example of how to deal with a violent incident – without necessarily using force to bring about a safe resolution.

“The video of the incident shows just how quickly a situation can escalate and the danger officers face on a daily basis in order to keep our communities safe.

"I am hugely proud of the officers and staff across Derbyshire Constabulary – and PC Nicholson is a shining example of the professionalism, bravery and dedication that is seen across the length and breadth of the county every day.”

In his statement, PC Podam said: “In almost 18 years in the job, I have never felt like that, in such a vulnerable position. I was genuinely in fear I was going to die.”

Their body-worn video (BWV) was reviewed by the force’s officer safety trainers, and they said: “If Laura hadn’t done what she did then Adam may have not been with us today.

“It is clear Laura showed incredible bravery at this incident. She acted quickly and calmly, doing everything in her power despite being assaulted, when faced with two violent offenders who were arming themselves with improvised weapons.”

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