90 days from today is Sat, 24 December 2022
9 November 2021
A Hertfordshire police officer who pulled a man high on drugs out of the way of a lorry on the M25 has been nominated for a bravery award.
Sergeant Martin Kemp, who has now retired from the Force, has been shortlisted for a Police Federation of England and Wales Police Bravery Award after risking his life to pull the man to safety 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.
PS Kemp 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, PS Kemp 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, PS Kemp 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.
PS Kemp has 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.”
PS Kemp has also received the Chief Constable’s Commendation for Bravery from Chief Constable Charlie Hall.
The citation said: “For demonstrating bravery and professionalism in restraining a male who was clearly under the influence of drugs in the highly dangerous environment of a live motorway. Your selfless and quick thinking actions have clearly prevented the male from suffering serious injury and necessitated by putting your own safety at significant risk to do so.”
The man, from Shepperton, admitted assaulting an emergency worker and leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position when he appeared before crown court. He had already been found guilty of driving while over the limit for drugs in his absence.
He was sentenced to 14 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to attend 35 days of a rehabilitation activity and carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £500 compensation to PS Kemp and £900 prosecution costs, and was banned from driving for 30 months.
PS Kemp will join nominees from across England and Wales at the Police Bravery Awards in London next month.