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Four Braintree Local Policing Team officers have been commended by Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington for saving the life of a man whose neck had been slashed with a razor.
PC Courtney Bailey, PC Dean Bell, PC Jess Croney and PC Danny Crouchman were commended for their bravery, professionalism and quick-thinking after the incident in Braintree town centre on 9 September 2022.
When they arrived in Market Square within three minutes of the incident being reported, they found the man was suffering a catastrophic bleed and knew immediately time was of the essence.
Jess immediately began first aid treatment to stem the bleed, putting as much pressure as she could on the wound, while Danny reassured the victim, keeping him conscious and upright.
“I put my hand on his neck and pressed as hard as I could to stem the bleeding until the ambulance turned up. It felt like forever but it was probably only a few minutes.
“We decided it was best for us to continue the pressure while the ambulance crew got their equipment ready.”
PC Jess Croney
Meanwhile, Courtney established an ambulance had not yet been called. After requesting one, she joined her two colleagues in providing first aid and helping to keep the victim calm.
She has been a police officer for three years and says she has attended serious incidents before ‘but nothing of that magnitude’.
Dean initially went after the suspect but when he saw the man had been arrested by a colleague, he directed other officers who had arrived to where scenes needed to be guarded, including the location of the weapon. They also took witness details, and made CCTV enquiries, ensuring the Major Crime team had a head start on their investigation.
Danny praised their actions.
“It helped us that they were able to manage the scene and take witness details so we were able to concentrate on the victim. I was talking to him the whole time and holding his hand, keeping him awake and upright.
“We were able to discuss the best way to try to stop the bleeding as we were doing it and I think we all worked very well together under the pressure.”
PC Danny Crouchman
Dean has previously served with the Royal Anglian Regiment and spent two tours of duty in Afghanistan, so he took oversight of the first aid and ensured the man’s clothes were cut off to establish whether he had been stabbed elsewhere.
“My military background helped because I had seen injuries like this before and know it’s just a case of putting as much pressure as you can on the wound.
“Fortunately, the ambulance wasn’t long and the crew were able to get him to Broomfield Hospital to operate. It was all an incredible team effort.”
PC Dean Bell
After the ambulance crew had stabilised the victim enough to be placed in the back of the ambulance, Jess and Danny accompanied him to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, supporting the ambulance crew in any way they were asked.
The officers arranged for a specialist vascular surgeon to be blue-lighted from Basildon and remained at the hospital until the victim came out of surgery the following morning, still assisting where they could and securing vital evidence to assist in the future prosecution.
Dean had followed them independently and was able to provide valuable reassurance to the victim’s family after they arrived at the hospital.
Last month, a man was found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court of attempted murder and racially-aggravated harassment. He was jailed for 28 years, will serve an extended three-year licence and will not be eligible for release for at least 19 years.
“The brave actions of these officers on that night were truly extraordinary. Officers are trained for a whole range of scenarios but this was an extremely challenging situation.
“But Courtney, Danny, Dean and Jess demonstrated the best of British policing by stepping straight in and dealing professionally and calmly with what they were confronted with – a man suffering a catastrophic bleed after having his neck slashed by a man with a razor.
“I have no doubt that had they not, the victim would not have survived and we would have been investigating a murder.
“I am so proud of them and all their colleagues on the local policing team, who pulled together and secured vital evidence and witness statements which ensured success at court and a substantial sentence of 28 years for the assailant.
“Thankfully, incidents such as this one are rare in Essex but, when they do happen, we will not rest until we have put the perpetrators before the courts to answer for their crimes.”
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington
All four officers have spoken of feeling honoured to receive a Commendation.
“It’s nice to be recognised with a Commendation but everyone at the scene that night worked so incredibly well together and they all had an essential part to play. It really demonstrated what local policing and being a police officer is all about.”
PC Jess Croney
“It’s a privilege to receive a Commendation but it is my job. We are trained and I was on duty that night so of course I did everything I could to help save the man’s life. And I’m glad things worked out well.”
PC Courtney Bailey
“Of course we had to do what we did, it’s part of the job, but it’s nice to be recognised and I feel very proud to be commended by the Chief Constable.”
PC Danny Crouchman
“It is nice to get a Commendation, I feel very proud.”
PC Dean Bell
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