Braintree: Chief Constable commends 'heroic' officers
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The bravery of five police officers who detained a man armed with an axe has been recognised with commendations from Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington.
PC Lisa Vaughan-Jones, PC Emma McIntyre-Major, PC John Parkin, Sergeant Paul Brady and Sergeant Paul Downes attended a house in Braintree where a man was making threats against his own family.
PCs Vaughan-Jones, McIntyre-Major and Parkin were the first to arrive.
They found the man’s wife and one of their children outside the property, with the man hanging out of an upstairs window brandishing the axe and making threats. Three children remained in the house with him.
PC Lisa Vaughan-Jones tired to negotiate with the man as PC McIntyre-Major and PC Parkin climbed into the back garden.
The man then appeared at the back door holding a knife to his young son, and then his own throat.
Fearing for the safety of the children, Sgt Brady and Sgt Downes forced entry to the house and Tasered the man. All of the children were unharmed.
“I was acting Sergeant that day and the call came in to say a man was armed with an axe and wanted to kill his wife and children,” said PC Vaughan-Jones.
“Our concern was getting the children out of the house, and we were just desperately trying to get the axe off him. It was clear that he was in a heightened manic state and didn’t trust any of us to help him.”
“When he brought the son down in his arms and then held the knife against his throat, that’s when your heart sinks,” said PC John Parkin, who had only just graduated from police training college.
“You forget about your own safety at that moment,” added PC McIntyre-Major, for whom this is a second commendation.
“Your priority becomes the children and making sure they get out safely.”
Sgt Brady arrived as part of the back-up team and struck by how usual the situation was.
“It was early morning, and when we turn up, it normally deescalates the situation. It’s very unusual for the situation to become more volatile.”
PC Parkin said that there was “huge relief” when the Taser was deployed and four officers were able to run up the stairs and get the children outside.
Sgt Paul Downes added: "It's nice to be recognised but I was surprised because it was really business as usual. It's our job to help people and keep them safe."
Chief Constable Harrington praised the team for their quick thinking and calmness:
"This was an extraordinary situation and the skills, teamwork and compassion the team displayed were absolutely phenomenal.
"It’s a pleasure to recognise the officers for their heroic work and say thank you.
“In the face of danger, the officers’ bravery and calmness kept those young children safe. This was fantastic work - policing at its best.”
If this story has inspired you, take a look at the careers on offer at Essex Police: www.essex.police.uk/fitthebill