Two Staffordshire Police officers who stopped an incredibly aggressive knifeman from killing his partner in a horrific domestic abuse incident have been nominated for The National Police Bravery Awards.
The officers, PC Kristian Avons and Sgt Amos Durose, were only saved from severe injury themselves thanks to their stab vests and showed tenacity, dynamic thinking and outstanding police work during the terrifying ordeal.
They will now join colleagues from across the country at the prestigious National Police Bravery Awards in London.
The officers from Northern Hub response attended a 999 call in Stoke-on-Trent on 2 August 2018. On approaching the property, they could hear a man and a woman shouting at each other from inside.
After managing to get their attention, the man leant out of an upstairs window and swore at the officers below before closing the window.
The officers could hear the woman screaming from inside the property still and fearing for her safety decided to force entry.
The man and the woman continued to shout at each other as the officers climbed the stairs. As they approached a closed door and identified themselves, the man swore at them again before telling them he had someone in there with him, and that he had a knife. The officers then heard the woman cry out in pain.
The officers radioed for back up, but with that being at least 10 minutes away, they knew they had to try and prevent the woman from being injured or worse.
Forcing entry into the room, the officers were confronted with a burly six-foot plus man who was holding a large knife to the woman’s throat and was using her as a human shield against the approaching officers. Another large kitchen knife was nearby.
The man then verbally threatened to slit the screaming woman’s throat in front of the officers.
They deployed PAVA spray in a bid to try and detain the man, but it failed to register. Instead, he rushed towards the officers with the knife in a stabbing position forcing the officers to take shelter behind the door as he began slashing and stabbing at it, all the while threatening to cut the woman’s throat.
Determined to get him under control, the brave officers then went back into the bedroom where again the man was holding the woman out in front of him telling the officers he was going to slash her.
She screamed even louder and fearing the man had made good on his threats and had cut her throat, PC Avons struck him with his baton. Sgt Durose by now was physically wrestling with him in a bid to get him to drop the knife but received knife blows to his neck and stab vest in doing so.
PC Avons managed to deal another blow, this time to the man’s head, with his baton which stopped the attack on his colleague and was enough to slow the man enough so he could be detained and arrested.
The man received a thirty-month sentence for threatening to kill, 18 months for actual bodily harm to his female victim and a year each for the ABH attacks on both officers.
Despite being covered in blood and fearing they had been stabbed, both officers’ vests had saved them from injury.
PC Durose recalled: “As we go in the room, we’ve got the bloke holding the woman against him. He is stood up and he’s got the woman with his arm across the body and a knife at her neck and we just hear her screaming.”
He added: “The bloke has let go for a second and charged us with the knife. We have closed the door and as we’ve closed the door, we can see a knife coming round the door frame. He’s trying to pierce through the frame.” PC Durose also recalls during the arrest of the man being punctured 4 or 5 times in the back of his stab vest and the offender trying to aim for his neck.
When asked about being nominated for The National Police Bravery Awards, PC Durose said: “Every day we’ve got police officers all around the country, even Staffordshire, doing things day in, day out which don’t get recognised, so to be recognised is an honour in itself. I’m really proud of myself and Kris.”
Staffordshire Police Federation Chairman Phil Jones said the officers had saved the woman’s life and at a considerable risk to themselves. “It was a horrific incident which could have ended in tragedy,” said Phil.
“This man was extremely aggressive and violent, and the officers feared for their lives. In the great tradition of policing, Kristian and Amos were determined to do their duty, but this one can be filed in the going beyond their duty category.
“They were incredibly courageous and got this vicious and dangerous man under control – to say we are proud of them both is an understatement.”
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 nominees, PC Avons and Sgt Durose 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 Kristian Avons and Sgt Amos Durose are total heroes. They saved a person’s life at no small risk to themselves, sadly receiving injuries in the incident. But without them and their brave actions, who knows how this could have ended. We are very proud of them.
“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.