Bedfordshire officer who stopped a woman slashing her own throat wins South East region Police Bravery Award
A Bedfordshire Police officer who single-handedly unarmed a woman who was waving a knife has won a prestigious Police Bravery Award.
Police Constable Christopher Willcox-Cassidy was named as the Region 5 (South East) winner at the 24th national Police Bravery Awards on July 18.
The awards were hosted by the Police Federation of England and Wales and sponsored by Police Mutual, honouring and recognising officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery.
PC Willcox-Cassidy was on his own gathering a victim statement from a vulnerable woman after a domestic incident. She suddenly threatened to cut her own throat with a large kitchen knife and made swiping movements with the knife towards her husband and the officer.
PC Willcox-Cassidy grabbed her arm to stop her waving the knife and in the struggle the gas cooker was switched on. PC Willcox-Cassidy, who had 11 months service at the time, used his Pava spray twice, while ensuring that the lady’s husband was not close by. He kept talking and calmly asking her to let go of the knife, recognising that she was vulnerable.
While PC Willcox-Cassidy was restraining the woman and updating the control room, he still had the foresight to ask the husband to turn off the gas. Eventually the knife was prised out of the woman’s hands.
PC Willcox-Cassidy later said: “It’s probably the quickest and longest five minutes that I’ve had in the police. I’d only been in 11 months and I think it was kind of the relief that the first major incident I’d dealt with on my own was out of the way and it’s kind of opened my eyes to what we do face and that I was on my own when I dealt with this. It does sound a bit weird, but the struggle wasn’t there of trying to protect myself, it was more about trying to protect her – protect her with her vulnerabilities.
“I couldn’t have lived with myself if I’d stood there and waited for support to come… I’d definitely do it again if I had to.”
John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales said: “PC Willcox-Cassidy demonstrated outstanding courage and dedication, putting the lives of others before his own without a second thought.”