Watch PC Luke Watson, Britain’s quickest cop, as he chases down a van and three suspected car thieves
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If you’re planning to run from police, you’d better hope PC Luke Watson isn’t on your tail.
Luke, the acting sergeant for the Waltham Abbey Town Team, has a 100% record in footraces against suspects. In nearly six years as a police officer, nobody attempting to flee has got away from him.
In newly released body worn video of Luke in action, he chases down a van that had been linked to a series of thefts, and in a second incident, catches and arrests three young men in a single chase at a site where a stolen car and a host of car parts were found.
In incident one, Luke was out in Waltham Abbey and chased the van when it became too risky to follow it between two rows of cars.
He smashed the driver’s window with an asp, couldn’t get into the back of the van because it was full of stolen goods but opened the passenger side after the van crashed into another vehicle.
“The way it was driving was so dangerous we couldn’t go after it, so I got out and ran. In hindsight I was so close between the moving cars but I thought I just had to stop it,” said Luke.
The female passenger was holding a Stanley knife but she was quickly overpowered and arrested. The couple in the van were later convicted of theft, possession of a bladed article and possession of a class A drug.
In the second incident, Luke and his colleague PC Liam McDonald enter an industrial estate to assist a police helicopter that was tracking a stolen BMW.
On seeing the police car, the three suspects ran.
Luke said: “I ran up the bonnet of the car, jumped over the fence and arrested one of them. I put him in handcuffs and I can see the other two in the distance. I know it’s just a straight road up to another industrial estate, so I thought I’d go for it - how far could they get?
“I jumped a couple of fences and catch up with the first one and arrest him. The other one tries to lay low in the back of the car so I drag him out and then I’ve got the two of them like naughty school kids. I’ve got not handcuffs and I have to get more units down to deal with them and go and find the car.”
When Luke isn’t at work, he puts his quick feet to good use playing on the wing for his rugby club but his first love is serving the people of Waltham Abbey.
He said: “I really enjoy my job. We’ve got a good team and it’s great to get out and talk to people. We have a good understanding of the area and we deal with the problems that matter to the community. People like seeing police officers.
“Anti-social behaviour is an issue that always comes up and I find that it often comes with other problems. If people are making noise on the streets late at night or in alleyways, this might be drugs related. If people are hanging around on driveways, they might be involved in vehicle inference or theft.”