PC Paul Spinks of Greater Manchester Police has been nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards 2023 after he attempted to diffuse a situation that involved a machete whilst he was off duty.
At 9am on 6 May last year PC Spinks was off duty driving along Manchester Road, Salford when he saw a male walking along the street in possession of a machete.
The male was waving the deadly weapon around at a time when the road was busy with members of the public, who were now alarmed and fearing for their safety.
PC Spinks was familiar with the area and knew there was a school further down the road where the male was heading towards. Knowing it was around school drop off time and the area would be busy with both pupils and parents he took decisive action.
After ringing the incident in to the police control room and passing a description of the suspect he then felt compelled to act further. The male appeared to be in emotional distress whilst waving the machete around and he could see him making threats to passing members of the public.
Despite being off duty and in plain clothes, and without regard for his personal safety with no personal protective equipment and not knowing how long he would have to wait for back up, PC Spinks approached the male to diffuse the situation.
PC Spinks identified himself as a police officer and tried to calm the male down by utilising his communication skills, however it soon became apparent he needed to detain the male to protect members of the public.
Putting himself in harm’s way whilst instructing members of the public to move away, he confronted the male where a struggle ensued.
Thankfully he was able to disarm the male without being injured and restrained him on the floor until backup arrived.
It would later transpire the male was wanted by the police for breaching a court order and had just been involved in a domestic abuse incident whereby he had made threats to kill someone and had caused criminal damage, all whilst being in possession of the machete.
The male was subsequently convicted and received a custodial prison sentence.
GMP Police Federation Chair Mike Peake said: “PC Paul Spinks whilst off duty, knowing that he had no immediate back up from his colleagues and having no police protective equipment, disregarded his own personal safety to take positive action to protect alarmed members of the public from a male waving around a deadly weapon.
“This is truly one of the bravest acts I have ever been aware of within policing, and the selfless actions of Paul undoubtedly prevented serious harm to innocent members of the public. Paul is a great example of why people choose to become police officers, to protect others, and this specific incident evidences the dangers police officers face on a daily basis.”
Chief Superintendent Colette Rose, GMP Trafford’s district commander, said: “I am delighted to see that PC Paul Spinks has been recognised and nominated for this award.
“PC Spinks put himself in grave danger off duty with no police equipment or access to any support and certainly deserves recognition for his bravery.
“He is extremely humble about the actions he took that day and without a doubt in my mind, his actions prevented significant harm being caused to a member of the public.
“PC Spinks is an excellent peer leader in our force training new recruits and is a fantastic representative for policing and for Greater Manchester Police.”