Cleveland Officers have once again been celebrated at the recent Police Bravery Awards now in their 25th year.
The nomination for the 2021 award follows the nomination for three Cleveland Police officers at the postponed 2020 awards, held before Christmas in London.
The awards are held by the Police Federation of England and Wales to honour and recognise police officers who performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty and are sponsored by Police Mutual.
PC Shahid Ahmed, DS Surfraz Hussain and PC Andrew Yau were attending a recruitment session at Teesside University, when they were asked for assistance by campus security.
When they went with the guard to investigate, the officers found a clearly agitated man who was shouting and screaming at passers-by. He was holding a lighter, there was a petrol canister on the ground next to him and he had clearly doused himself in the fuel. The officers had no PPE kit on them as they were only in the area to take part in the recruitment campaign. It was an incredibly stressful situation.
The man was clearly unwell, and the incident had to be dealt with sensitivity and patience. Between them, the officers managed to communicate effectively with the man. During the conversation, they slowly edged closer until they were able to take the lighter and detain him so he could receive the medical care he needed. By talking and listening to the man, the officers saved his life, putting their own lives in danger.
In terms of the 2021 award, PC Adam Woodland, now Acting Sergeant Woodland, was put forward after he attended what he thought was a routine neighbourly dispute. As he concluded taking a statement, the woman he was with left and walked into the kitchen. She returned with a 12inch kitchen knife and began to attack PC Woodland.
PC Woodland was forced to defend himself. Whilst remaining calm he managed to restrain the woman. She was later sentenced to two-and-a-half-years in prison.
PC Woodland’s calm and professional approach saved his own life, as the woman intended to stab the officer in the head.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Since their inception by Robert Peel nearly 200 years ago, the police have, day in and day out, faced down evil in our society. However, 2020 was a year unlike any other for policing.
“Not only did you show the bravery and fortitude we have seen from generations of officers, keeping the public safe from those who would do us harm, you have also had to face, head on and without precedent, a global pandemic. As frontline workers in the truest sense, you have been vital in helping us battle Covid-19. I salute each and every one of you for the role you have played.”
Those sentiments were shared by the Home Secretary Priti Patel who said: “This dedication is constant and consistent, and it is why you and your fellow officers are so admired around the world. It is vitally important that this underlying everyday courage is recognised.”
John Apter National Chair, Police Federation of England and Wales added: “We have the finest police officers in the world – dedicated public servants who, without hesitation, put themselves in danger to protect others. They are humble, professional and committed individuals who I am proud to call my colleagues. Police officers are everyday heroes who are anything but ordinary.”
Glen Teeley, Chair of Cleveland Police Federation, said: “The courage and professionalism shown by these officers goes above and beyond the normal call of duty. They have all shown exceptional bravery, and thoroughly deserved to be nominated for these awards. Thank you, PC Woodland, PC Ahmed, DS Hussain and PC Yau, for your dedication to helping to keep the public safe”.