Outstanding acts of bravery by the public were celebrated at The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) annual Police Public Bravery Awards last night (30 October).
Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, Stephen Watson, hosted the awards at a hotel in London.
The ceremony was held to honour the brave members of the public who have placed themselves in dangerous situations, carrying out courageous and selfless acts to help protect others, defend their communities, prevent and detect crime and actively assist the police.
Amongst this year’s award winners were people who risked and, in some cases, lost their lives while trying to save others, people saving others from burning cars and homes, others foiling and detaining armed robbers, and people who stepped in to protect others from violent attacks.
Also presented on the night was the Binney Medal, which is awarded to the person whose nomination stands out as exceptional above the others. The Binney Medal is in remembrance of Sir Ralph Binney, a retired naval captain who died while trying to stop an armed robbery.
This year the Binney Medal was presented to Abigail Weigold from South Yorkshire, also a gold medal winner, who bravely stood between an armed man and a group of men who were trying to attack him. Despite pleas for others nearby to help her, she courageously protected the man on her own for almost 20 minutes, without thought for her own safety.
Thomas Brearley, also from South Yorkshire, was awarded a gold medal for his bravery after he intervened in a knife attack in a pub car park. His instinctive actions placed him in danger, but prevented the victim suffering further injury.
The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police Stephen Watson, who hosted last night’s ceremony, explained why the awards are so important:
“These courageous acts are a tribute to the spirit and determination demonstrated by the public, often involving decisions made with little or no regard for personal safety. They serve to reinforce Robert Peel’s adage that ‘The police are the public and the public are the police."
"These annual awards do not exist to encourage people to place themselves in danger, but represent the opportunity to pay tribute to those in the community who consider themselves ordinary people, yet have performed truly extraordinary acts of bravery.”
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