PC Stephanie Clarke and PC Leigh Walker were running a plain-clothes operation in Westminster on 4 October 2020 when they saw two teenage boys running out of a grocery store with the storekeepers screaming after them.
PC Walker got into a fight with one of the boys after suspecting them of attempting to rob the store, while PC Clarke tried to help detain them.
She then felt a pain in her side.
The boys managed to flee, and PC Clarke pursued them, believing she had been punched. She then noticed they were holding a knife. She continued running until she realised she was bleeding from the abdomen and that one of the boys had stabbed her.
She radioed PC Walker to inform him that they were armed with knives and that she had been injured. The suspects, both 15 years old, were apprehended shortly after with the assistance of firearms officers. The boy who stabbed PC Walker was later sentenced to three and a half years in a juvenile detention facility.
“My colleagues were concerned I could have had an internal bleed, so I went to the trauma unit and had a scan,” said PC Clarke, who is now a Trainee Detective Constable. The knife had gone in about two inches, into stomach muscle, but thankfully not into anything major.
“My supervisor, probably wisely, wouldn’t let me back out on the street until my stitches were removed, but I got back out there after that.”
“I found the court process difficult, but afterward, I went to the young offender institution to meet the boy who had stabbed me, which was actually quite rewarding and provided me with some closure.” He appears to have benefited from the rehabilitation process.
“I feel very fortunate to have this job, and I believe that you can really help people, so I’m just trying to keep doing that.” But I’m extremely grateful for this honour.”
“What a courageous hero and an example of the fantastic officers we have out there on the streets every day keeping Londoners safe,” said Metropolitan Police Federation Chair Ken Marsh.
“Despite suffering a gruesome injury, Steph pursued a suspect.” It was fortunate that Steph was not seriously injured, and she was extremely brave in attempting to apprehend these suspects even after she had been stabbed.
“She ran towards danger, and I applaud her bravery and professionalism.” We are extremely proud of her.”
The National Police Bravery Awards recognise officers from across England and Wales who have displayed exceptional bravery while on or off duty.
TDC Clarke, as a nominee, will join colleagues from across the country at a reception and evening awards ceremony in London in July.