9 June 2021
Police Bravery Awards host, Mark Durden-Smith, spoke to three 2020 nominees over Zoom about their courageous actions during the Bravest of the Brave segment on 9 June.
Mark explained that last year was set to be a special one for the Bravery Awards, which are sponsored by Police Mutual, as it was the events 25th anniversary. “Sadly though, because of this miserable pandemic, the 2020 Awards didn’t happen,” he said. “But the good news is that plans are afoot – all being well - to celebrate those courageous officers in the style they deserve later on this year with a proper ceremony. But before then – this virtual gathering seemed like a perfect opportunity to remind us all of the incredible acts of bravery of the 2020 nominees”.
After a montage showing each nominee’s amazing story, Mark spoke to PC Geoff Marshall of Derbyshire Constabulary and North Wales Police PCs Richard Shea and Matt Reynolds about their brave actions.
PC Marshall helped to prevent the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir from collapsing and overwhelming the town of Whaley Bridge below after days of rain. Officers were evacuating 1,500 people from their homes during a rescue mission, while PC Marshall was the final link in a chain of officers working to place 300 sandbags at the top of the dam wall to stop water getting in. He said: “We were told it could go at any moment. There was talk of whirlpools and water coming out. If there was a whirlpool it meant the dam was about to go, so you’d have to get off as quickly as you could.” He added: “I was told that if it did go, there was a high chance that I would go with the dam”.
The courageous officer revealed how, despite his heroics saving the lives of thousands of people, his proud but livid wife had branded him “an idiot”. “She was proud but not overly impressed,” PC Marshall said. “She did call me an idiot. It was actually a lot stronger than that.”
PCs Shea and Reynolds were nominated for tackling a man who had forced his way into the home of a woman he had earlier allegedly sexually assaulted and was holding her at gunpoint while children were present. PC Reynolds explained that all the information that had been called through was that the man was armed and that they didn’t have time to lose.
“We decided we couldn’t wait for a second car,” he said. “We made our way to the house in complete darkness and could hear raised voices...We got to front door, which we could see was open. At this point a barrel of something has come out of the open door and pointed at us. It’s only down to the fact that we got so close to the front door that we saw a glint of streetlight. Something told me this wasn’t right; a real weapon doesn’t shine like that.”
The offender in fact had a toy gun, which the officers only discovered because they got so close to the house. PC Shea explained how the man was Tasered and they made another nasty discovery. “After he ditched the imitation firearm, he had a large kitchen knife in a downward grip behind the door,” he said.
“Had I breached the door like I had intended, the first place that blade would have gone is in my neck”.
The 2020 Bravery Awards have been rescheduled and are now planned to be held in October.