Two police officers who averted suspected armed robbery at a betting shop have been nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards 2023.
PCs Craig Cullen and Ryan Butters have been praised for their actions in arresting the suspect who had threatened the shop’s staff with what appeared to be a revolver.
Darren Harris, chair of Suffolk Police Federation, said the suspected firearm turned out to be an imitation, but the officers clearly did not know about it when they tackled the perpetrator.
“Their brave actions show their dedication to putting the safety of the Suffolk public before their own,” he said.
The attacker threatened staff at the Coral bookmakers in King Street, Sudbury, at around 3.15pm on 8 June 2022.
He brandished the weapon in the face of the cashiers and asked “if they wished to die” as he demanded they gave him money from the tills.
Shortly afterwards, the two officers found him waving around what appeared to be a silver revolver in a busy town centre street.
Darren added: “Acting without any thought for their own safety, the officers got out of their van and detained the male.
“Once they had removed the gun, they discovered it was an imitation, but until they apprehended him and removed it, they did not know this.”
A firearms expert who later examined the weapon described it as having the appearance of a real firearm, and as being the same colour and dimensions as a real revolver.
Chief Constable Rachel Kearton said: “I want to personally acknowledge the bravery shown by these two officers, which is in the fine tradition of Suffolk Constabulary.
“Their actions underline the challenging role all of our officers face as they undertake their duties on behalf of the public. Craig and Ryan are a credit to their colleagues and to the force.”
The perpetrator, Mohamad Al Sarnawi, was jailed for 16 months after he admitted to two offences of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence at the Ipswich Crown Court in December 2022.
PC Cullen has been a police officer for 10 years, after serving in the Army for 12 years, and PC Butters has served in Suffolk Police for almost six years.