PC Andrew Wienand even had a pickaxe thrown at him during the incident last year – but still managed to scare the raiders off.
It was around 3.30am on May 31 2019 when PC Wienand, a newly qualified officer who was safely tucked up in bed in his South West London flat, heard a disturbance outside.
Going to his front door, he could see that a nearby jewellery shop was about to be burgled by a group of five men who were carrying sledgehammers and pickaxes.
Incredibly, quick-thinking PC Wienand bravely decided to intervene even though he was dressed only in boxer shorts.
Shouting to neighbours to call the police, PC Wienand ran at the suspects one of whom threw a pickaxe, narrowly missing him, before the gang decided to ditch the burglary and escape on mopeds.
The shop window was left damaged, but no goods had been stolen.
It was a particularly courageous act, considering PC Wienand had only been part of his response team on Central West BCU for two weeks at the time of the incident.
The officer cut his bare feet on broken glass but was ready to come in for this next shift.
PC Wienand said: “I saw him raise the pickaxe – I know it sounds cliché, but time does slow. I thought the only way to get at him, because he’s going to try and smash my head in with a pickaxe, is to run at him.
“I’m a miner’s child, I’m used to using a pickaxe when I was a kid, I know how much it weighs. I saw his height, his body shape, and I knew it’s going to take him a bit to lift it up. So I ran at him, yelling, and he got a fright. He pegged the pickaxe at me. It narrowly missed my head because I jumped to the left.”
He added: “It was a flight or fight response… I’ve been pumped ever since I heard I was nominated. I think my parents would be incredibly proud. I know my family here in the UK are just so proud. My 80 year old grandmother’s going down to the coffee shop going, ‘My grandson did this’.”
Praising PC Wienand for his courageous actions, Ken Marsh, Metropolitan Police Federation Chairman, said the incident showed that police officers are never off-duty.
“Andrew stopped these suspects from raiding the premises. They were armed with pickaxes and sledgehammers so were clearly intent on causing damage and potential injury to anyone who got in their way,” he said.
“It was extremely brave of Andrew to challenge them and stop them in their tracks, particularly as he was only two weeks out of Hendon at the time. And let’s remember he had no personal protective equipment on him. Just his underwear.
“He’s a very worthy nominee.”
The National Police Bravery Awards honour officers from across England and Wales who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.
As a nominee, PC Wienand will attend a prestigious daytime reception and evening awards ceremony in London in July 2021. The 2020 event – the 25th National Police Bravery Awards – had been scheduled to take place this past summer but had to be cancelled due to Coronavirus.
Nevertheless the Police Federation of England and Wales wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the fantastic work of all 94 nominees from across the country online from today (September 24).
John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “We are incredibly proud of all the nominees from across England and Wales. The actions of these courageous officers provide a small snapshot of the amazing work our colleagues carry out day in and day out.
“PC Andrew Wienand showed incredible bravery in this incident, especially when we remember how new he was to the role. It’s often said that police officers are never off duty and this just goes to show how true that is. He is a credit to his family. And to the Metropolitan Police.”
“As a Police Federation, we wanted to make sure these brave officers received the recognition they deserve in the year their actions were meant to be celebrated. And we look forward to seeing them all in person – and revealing regional and national winners – when the time is right in 2021.”
The National Police Bravery Awards are sponsored by Police Mutual.
John Perks, Chief Executive Officer of Police Mutual, said: “Police Mutual is, as always, proud to be supporting the National Police Bravery Awards in its 25th anniversary year. Despite having to postpone the original ceremony, the officers’ courage has never been forgotten – they all showed commitment to keeping the public safe in the most demanding of circumstances.
“We very much look forward to meeting all the nominated officers in July 2021 for the ceremony, and our chance to give our thanks in person.”