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Hertfordshire Police Federation

Brave Martin honoured at awards ceremony

10 December 2021

A Hertfordshire police officer who pulled a man high on drugs out of the way of a lorry on the busy M25 has been honoured at the 2021 Police Bravery Awards.

Sergeant Martin Kemp, who has since retired from the Force, joined nominees from across England and Wales at the presentation ceremony in London yesterday which was also attended by policing minister Kit Malthouse, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.

He and his wife were also guests at a Downing Street reception which they both said was an amazing experience.

Martin was nominated after risking his life to pull the man to safety just seconds before he was hit by a HGV.

The man, who had taken cocaine, had abandoned his Mercedes Sprinter van at the junction of the M25 and A1 at South Mimms where he was spotted by a Highways England traffic officer darting in and out of the motorway traffic. The incident happened at 10.50pm on 7 June 2019.

Police were called and traffic on the eastbound carriageway was stopped – but he crossed onto the westbound side of the motorway which was still live.

Martin caught up with him in the middle lane of the motorway and, with two lorries approaching, tried to drag him off the carriageway.

But the man started fighting, punching the officer, knocking his glasses into the road and grabbing his genitals.

In his statement, Martin said: “I kept shouting at him to stop and let go, telling him we were both going to die if he carried on as I could see the HGVs getting closer.”

The brave officer explained: “I cannot recall a time in my 25-year career that I have felt so vulnerable in the belief I was about to die. The HGV missed us by mere inches.

“I have two young daughters who I firmly believe could have been made fatherless as a direct result of this man and his behaviour. I come to work to help people, not to be assaulted and have my life put in danger by them.”

As the HGVs approached, he managed to get the man into the outside lane of the motorway seconds before the lorries passed – missing them by inches.

With the man still resisting arrest, Martin managed to inch him to the relative safety of the central reservation until colleagues arrived and he was arrested.

A subsequent test on the man found he had five times the legal amount of cocaine in his body.

Martin has already received a commendation for bravery for his actions from Judge Michael Simon, who presided over the case when it came to court.

The citation said: “For his incredible bravery in risking his life to save that of the defendant’s in live lanes on the M25 in the face of oncoming cars and HGVs travelling at speed.”

He has also received the Chief Constable’s Commendation for Bravery from Chief Constable Charlie Hall.

The national Police Bravery Awards, organised by the Police Federation of England and Wales, honour officers from across England and Wales who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.

The overall winners were four West Yorkshire Police officers who detained two attackers who had murdered a man with a samurai sword.

The colleagues were honoured for their professionalism during a horrific incident in January 2020 when they responded to reports of a man being viciously attacked outside a pharmaceutical factory in Huddersfield.

The officers – one of whom was in the first two weeks of her career – were confronted by the barbaric sight of attackers hacking at the victim with a sword and knives when they arrived at the scene. They bravely managed to detain both assailants, despite the offenders still being in possession of the murder weapon and knives.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the “dedication and conscientiousness” of all the nominees and paid tribute to their bravery.

He said: “Acts of bravery in policing are, necessarily and thankfully for us all, commonplace. Every day, local and national media is awash with examples of police heroism. Be it confronting dangerous and violent people, rescuing members of the public or working day and night on the most harrowing of cases, bravery is a defining characteristic of the police.

“It is this unflinching bravery, alongside your dedication and conscientiousness, that inspires my steadfast support for the police.

“I am bowled over by the nominees. You are a credit to your forces and your illustrious forebears in policing. I salute each and every one of you.”

Kerry McMahon-White, head of partnerships at Police Bravery Awards sponsor Police Mutual, said: “The role of a police officer has never been easy, but the last 18 months has seen you continue to protect the public while battling the unprecedented impact of Covid-19, putting the safety of others before yourself with unwavering commitment.

“I thank each one of you for the sacrifices you have made with resolute dedication in the most difficult of circumstances.

“To all of you who have been nominated; your acts of bravery are exceptional and this evening we pay tribute to your remarkable heroism and dedication.

“All at Police Mutual are honoured to be able to support those who have gone above and beyond and offer our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all nominees.”


September 2022