18 July 2019
A Devon and Cornwall Police officer who risked her own life to save a vulnerable man from a blazing house has won a prestigious Police Bravery Award.
PC Agata Makowska was named as the Region 6 (South West) winner at the 24th national Police Bravery Awards on 18 July, hosted by the Police Federation of England and Wales. The awards, sponsored by Police Mutual, honour and recognise police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery.
PC Makowska attended reports of an intruder alarm going off for half an hour at the home of a vulnerable man. There were clouds of black smoke coming from an upstairs window and while the man inside opened the front door, he retreated back inside. PC Makowska rushed to the door and was met with billowing smoke filling the entire ground floor and staircase.
The man was found slumped on the stairs and was unresponsive. Knowing that Fire and Rescue were eight minutes away, PC Makowska went into the burning house. She single-handedly dragged the unconscious man out to safety and, after putting herself at risk, needed to go to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.
PC Makowska later recounted why she did what she did: "Not going in in these circumstances was not even an option for me. There’s an inscription in the Queen’s Police Medal and it reads very simply, 'protect my people', and I feel that this has always been the foundation for all my decisions."
John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales said: "These awards highlight the incredible bravery that police officers show every single day. PC Makowska demonstrated outstanding courage and dedication, putting the lives of others before her own without a second thought."
John Perks, Chief Executive Officer of Police Mutual, said: "For the past 11 years, Police Mutual is proud to have sponsored such an inspiring event in the policing calendar. It is a privilege for my colleagues and I to be able to show our respect for the exceptional bravery shown by police officers who risk their lives every day to protect the public and keep us safe. We hope that we can continue to play our part in helping improve the lives of the police family."