A POLICE officer who managed to disarm a man said to have been using a tyre lever to batter the man he believed had stabbed him in the leg insists he is no hero.
But Wiltshire Chief Constable Kier Pritchard is convinced he is and in recognition of that bravery he handed PC Nathan Martin a commendation at the force awards this week.
The Swindon beat officer was one of more than 40 police, staff members, volunteers and members of the public to be honoured at the ceremony near Pewsey on Tuesday night.
Among those whose contribution was marked by the chief, was the team that investigated British sergeant Emile Cilliers, who attempted to kill his wife, the Swindon officers responsible for a pop-up policing point in the town centre, and an off-duty constable who tackled a knife yob to the ground in Upper Stratton earlier this year.
But even among the list of those awarded commendations, PC Martin’s courage stood out.
The scene in Upper Stratton Picture: ADVER
At 6am on March 9, Mr Martin and his special constable colleague were driving into Gablecross police station – about to hang up their stab vests after another busy Friday night shift in Swindon.
Over the radio came a report of a stabbing in Upper Stratton. A member of the public had called 999, claiming he had been approached by a man spattered in blood and saying he had been stabbed in the leg.
The pair sped north from Gablecross. “We couldn’t find anybody at the scene. We were thinking it could just be a prank,” PC Martin told the Adver. “But it spiralled from there.”
They were flagged down by a taxi driver gesturing towards a shop on the Moonrakers roundabout. “We spun the car around. I couldn’t see anything at first, but as soon as we got out the car this chap appeared and there was what seemed to be a knife in his hand.
PC Nathan Martin Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE
“At this point I thought ‘this has gone skew-whiff’.”
The man ran back into the corner shop and PC Martin spotted him heading towards another man at the back of the store. “At that point I was quite literally bellowing over the radio for further assistance.”
“This chap got to the front door where I told him to put down whatever was in his hand. It was at that point I saw it wasn’t a knife, but a tyre lever. It’s still going to hurt quite a bit if you’re hit with it.
“I shouted at him to drop it and fortunately enough he did. We were a metre away from each other, so I’m quite thankful he dropped it.
“It could have been very different.”
The 42 officers, staff and public recognised for their contribution Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE
It was only when they had the suspect in cuffs that PC Martin and his colleague realised the shop victim was the man suspected of stabbing the tyre lever-wielder in the leg.
“We managed to get both of them detained and the cavalry arrived,” he said.
Many would consider PC Martin’s actions that morning heroic.
The chief constable’s commendation read: “Nathan handled this unpredictable incident with complete professionalism, bravely putting himself in harm’s way to prevent further injury to either party.”
But PC Martin’s reaction? “I don’t think I’m a hero at all. I wasn’t expecting this award.
The response officer, who has previously served as a special and in the 999 control room, said he loves his job.
“I genuinely love helping people and there’s nothing more satisfying than making a difference in someone’s life no matter how small that might be. It sends you home at the end of the day with a bit of a buzz.”