An off-duty officer who single-handedly apprehended a person suspected of robbing his son at knife point, without the protection of a stab vest, while professionally reassuring concerned onlookers, has been nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards 2023.
PC Gareth Griffin of the Royalty and Specialist Protection Unit was off duty when he received a distressing call from his son who told him that he and his friend had just been robbed at knife point.
Arriving to the location where his son was, PC Griffin, after a brief search of the area, was able to identify the suspect who had fled the scene on a bicycle.
PC Griffin was able to apprehend the suspect and detain him until on duty officers arrived on scene. Whilst waiting for their arrival a crowd gathered and began questioning the behaviour of this apparent member of the public towards a minor.
He instructed his son to call 999, whilst he directed his son’s friend to retrieve his warrant card and show it to those gathering who had started to film the event.
PC Griffin explained the suspect was suspected of committing a robbery and being armed with a knife moments earlier, and was being detained for arrest once other officers arrived on scene.
PC Griffin demonstrated great calmness in not escalating the situation as a concerned, and at times hostile, crowd gathered.
He identified, apprehended and detained a suspect who was, despite his young age, apparently armed and had allegedly committed a knife point mugging in broad daylight on the streets of Bromley.
Metropolitan Police Federation Chair Ken Marsh said: “Despite being off-duty, this officer rushed to the scene and used his quick thinking to track down and detain a suspect who he believed was carrying a knife.
“I commend the officer for his bravery – and thank his son for his efforts too.”
Ken added: “This incident also shows the constant microscope our brave officers are under, out there on and off duty trying to keep the public safe whilst people are filming their actions. Officers have no issue with being accountable, but they need and deserve the public’s support.
“That is why the courage of this officer is exemplary, he was off duty and didn’t walk away. He was being filmed, being questioned and yet he continued to have the courage to do the right thing and coolly and calmly explain what he was doing.”
Commander Simon Messinger, of Met Protection, said: “PC Griffin dealt expertly with a very difficult situation. He single-handedly apprehended someone he suspected of having a knife, without the protection of a stab vest and while simultaneously explaining to a crowd of concerned community members what was happening. His swift and professional actions ensured the safety of the public.”