Sergeant overwhelmed by bravery award nomination

A Gwent Police sergeant shortlisted for this year’s Police Bravery Awards said she was “honoured and a bit overwhelmed” to hear she had been put forward.

Menna Watkins was nominated for the courage she showed when she subdued and arrested a knife-wielding thug as he charged at her in the street in a village near Bargoed.

The incident flared minutes after Menna responded to reports of a disturbance during which one man had threatened another with a knife.

She deployed her Taser as he ran towards her and then handcuffed him and waited for back-up to arrive at the scene.

Menna said:  “I was the covering sergeant for the area and there were no units available other than myself. The firearms teams were travelling from Rumney in Cardiff so it would have taken them a good 20 minutes to half-an-hour to get there and I was only a few minutes away so I went.”

Menna spoke to the alleged victim at the scene and was trying to get more information about the suspect when he charged through the crowd of onlookers and lunged towards her. 

Sergeant Menna Watkins

“He came charging at me like a screaming banshee with his hand in the air and I guessed he was carrying a knife so just reacted,” said Menna.

“To be honest, it was like I was back in Taser training because the incident itself was very similar to one of the scenarios they set up for us.

“You just go into autopilot. It was on the spot, over in seconds and you don’t really think about it until afterwards. It wasn’t traumatising, I was just glad to be able to deal with it.”

Gwent Police Federation chair Chris Back described Menna as a “real credit” to the Force.

He said: “Menna had the professionalism and calmness of mind to hold her ground, draw and discharge her Taser. 

“Her Taser discharge was accurate and she was able to subdue and arrest a violent offender who presented a very real threat to her personal safety and other members of the public. 

“She then had the presence of mind to press her emergency button to ensure approaching units were fully briefed and aware of her location and the situation. 

“Menna displayed fantastic professionalism, calmness under pressure and courage. She is a real credit to Gwent Police.”

The Police Bravery Awards, organised by the Police Federation of England and Wales, recognise the brave actions of police officers nationwide. This year’s awards ceremony will be held in July.