This annual event, sponsored by Police Mutual for 10 years and in its 23rd year, honours some of the finest officers in England and Wales who have performed incredible acts of bravery, while on or off duty.
A total of 80 officers from 40 forces across England and Wales were nominated this year. The very deserving nominees this year from Gwent were PS Jon Pursey and PC Chrissie Fortt.
These two officers were nominated for the national Police Bravery Award after bravely facing an axe attack. Officers were attending a burglary, when they were met by a large number of hostile people who were drinking and taking drugs. While they tried to clear the premises, a man came back with an axe and tried to attack the officers in a narrow corridor.
Described as being “in a pure rage, snorting with anger”, he pointed at Sgt Jon Pursey with the axe raised, moving towards him. At the same time a man who lived there came into the corridor with a knife to attack the man wielding the axe. The officers now had two men with weapons in close proximity and in a narrow space.
Sgt Pursey bravely tackled the man with the knife to the ground and disarmed him, but left himself vulnerable to the axe-wielding man. PC Chrissie Fortt saw the danger and put herself between her sergeant and the attacker, believing they were going to be attacked.
Sgt Pursey restrained the man on the floor while PC Fortt used communication tactics to keep him back and stop him attacking. The man was around six feet away, with the axe still in the air ready to strike. Fortunately PC Fortt managed to persuade him to leave the house and not attack them with the axe.
Sgt Pursey and PC Fortt risked their lives to diffuse a highly volatile and dangerous situation, showing courage and quick thinking.
Both nominees and their respective spouses Emma and Gareth travelled to London on Wednesday 11th July and that evening they all went to see Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre.
After a hearty breakfast the following morning they were taken to No 10 Downing Street to meet Mr Nick Hurd MP Minister of State for Policing and Fire Services having the usual photo call in the gardens of no 10.
Off to No 10 Downing Street from the hotel in Mayfair
Outside No 10 and about to go through security
All the nominees in the gardens of No 10 Downing Street
Later that evening the awards were held at the Dorchester Hotel with Mark Durden Smith presenting the event. We were joined by ACC Kirk and PCC Cuthbert.
There were a number of worthy regional awards given out throughout the evening with the overall bravery award going posthumously to PC Keith Palmer and jointly with PC Charlie Guenigault (Met Police) for their heroic actions during the terrorist attacks in London in 2017.
The award was given by the Home Secretary Sajid Jivid.
Overall the couple of days went really smoothly and I’m sure Jon, Emma, Chrissie and Gareth enjoyed the experience.
It was an absolute honour for Gwent Federation to support the event again this year and accompany such worthy nominees. Congratulations and well done for representing Gwent Police in the way that you did.
Vickie Day Gwent Federation Council Secretary