Two Suffolk Police Officers who stopped a shotgun-wielding man from killing children – and themselves – during a terrifying domestic incident have been nominated for The National Police Bravery Awards.
PC Peter French, from Stowmarket, and PC Jordan Tuck, from Sudbury station, showed bravery, 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 pair knew the call-out on 8 September 2019 was no ordinary domestic violence case when they entered the property.
The house looked as it if it had been struck by a hurricane as furniture, ornaments and glass were strewn all over the floors of every room in the house.
Walking into the kitchen, they found a 12-year-old girl cowering in the corner who told them the man had gone outside. Garden furniture had been tipped up and smashed as the officers made their way outside to a shed at the foot of the garden.
The man then suddenly appeared with a shotgun and started pointing it directly at the officers. Backing away, the unarmed PCs told the man to drop the weapon, but they were met with a barrage of swearing and non-compliance.
The officers managed to get back into the property and locked the doors to stop the man getting access inside.
They managed to find and evacuate three children and an adult to safety. The oldest child later said the man had threatened to kill them all. One of the children was so terrified they were hiding in a cupboard.
PC French then radioed in what was going on and attempted to capture the incident on his body-worn video.
By now, the man had smashed the patio doors of the property with the butt of the shotgun before he went back behind the shed. He was fetching a petrol canister, and he proceeded to douse the shed in petrol before setting light to it.
The shed was quickly engulfed with flames and was threatening next door properties. The man then took up position behind a hedge with the shotgun pointing back at the house, apparently ready to fire at anyone who might try and get close to him.
Fearing an even worse escalation of the incident PC French advised control that back up should approach quietly with no blue lights on and should not enter the scene via the garden.
As they waited for armed back up, the man dropped the weapon to the ground and appeared to be less agitated. It gave the officers the opportunity they had been waiting for, and they managed to get him and the shotgun under their control.
It later transpired that the man had fired the weapon, but it had failed to discharge.
Suffolk Police Federation Chairman Darren Harris said the officers had been understandably fearful for their lives, but that had not stopped them from saving the lives of everyone in the house.
“Police officers never know what the call will be when it comes in,” said Darren. “It was an extraordinary scene, and Jordan and Peter were incredibly brave to get these children out of the way and to safety.
“Anything could have happened, and it’s only through their absolute courage and tenacity that this incident did not become a tragic one. We are very proud of our colleagues and pleased that this violent man is behind bars where he belongs.”
The man pleaded guilty to numerous firearms offences as well as threatening to kill, ABH, arson and assault charges. He was sentenced to 5 and a half year in prison.
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 Tuck and PC French 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 Jordan Tuck and PC Peter French are heroes, plain and simple. What brilliant police work and complete courage. 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.”