Pc Natasha Counsell receiving her Chief Constables commendation from Chief Constable Jeff Farrar
A Gwent police officer who entered a house where a violent man had attacked a woman has been nominated for a national Police Bravery Award.
PC Natasha Counsell’s actions helped secure a custodial sentence for the offender, and she will be recognised for this at the 22nd Police Bravery Awards next month, at a fitting ceremony in London. The awards honour and recognise police officers who performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty, hosted by the Police Federation of England and Wales, and sponsored by Police Mutual.
PC Counsell was single-crewed when she attended an address where a woman had called asking for help – but on arrival the door was opened by a surly, bare-chested man who said there had been no call – and there was no female in the premises at all.
PC Counsell was not satisfied with the reply, and decided to enter the address herself – even though the attitude of the man had suggested that he may be a violent individual and that should PC Counsell insist upon entry, he might well become violent to stop her.
The PC put her concern for a potentially injured woman ahead of her own safety, switched on her body-worn video camera, and then entered the flat, where she found the woman hidden under a duvet, curled up in the foetal position. It was clear she had been subjected to a sustained and violent attack - she was so fearful that she could only whisper to PC Counsell. The officer’s excellent communication skills ensured that she was able to give a full evidential account of what had happened.
Nominating the officer for the national award, Gwent Police Federation Chairman, Tim Wilcox said: “This is an excellent example of an officer making a conscious decision to act on available evidence which could lead to a violent encounter. Her actions were prompted by the concern for a woman that she believed may have suffered injuries and be in need of urgent medical attention. “No criticism would have, or should have been attached to her had she decided to wait for the arrival of other officers before entering the flat; but she chose to push aside her fears to help a woman who had called for help.”
Stephen Mann, CEO of Police Mutual, said: “Police Mutual is very proud to be supporting the Police Bravery Awards for the ninth consecutive year. I am always astounded by police officers’ acts of bravery and my colleagues and I continue to be inspired by their dedication. They are a true inspiration and I feel privileged and humbled to be part of the Awards again.”