Two married off duty Greater Manchester Police officers who fought off a violent gang outside their home – suffering horrific injuries in the process of protecting a member of the public – have been nominated for The National Police Bravery Awards.
Husband and wife PCs Jack and Joanna Wilber were subjected to a sustained attack by a pack of youths while they were off duty on 14 September 2019.
Joanna was pregnant at the time of the incident.
The pair, based at Q Oldham Division, had responded to the cries of a distressed woman outside their property and could see she was being attacked by the youths.
Despite being severely outnumbered, the officers immediately went to her aid only to be set upon by the gang.
During the melee Jack was stabbed twice with what was either a screwdriver or a knife, receiving deep wounds and a broken rib.
Jack still managed to grab hold of one of the assailants to prevent them making their escape but came under further attacks by the group, who were courageously held off by Joanna.
Further units then arrived, and all the suspects were arrested. Jack and Joanna who suffered severe bruising both received hospital treatment but thankfully discharged a short time afterwards.
At the time of writing, investigations into incident are still ongoing.
Greater Manchester Police Federation Chairman Stu Berry said the officers had been put through hell during the incident.
“This incident really proves that GMP officers are never off duty,” he said. “Jack and Joanna realised that this woman was clearly in trouble and in the best traditions of policing ran towards the danger to protect her.
“What a brave thing to do – they were up against an armed gang but protected this woman and did everything they could to get their assailants to justice. It’s even more remarkable considering Joanna was pregnant at the time.
“We are all very proud of them both.”
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, PCs Jack and Joanna Wilber 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.
“Police officers are never off duty. PCs Jack and Joanna Wilber are the best of the best – bravely protecting a member of the public and putting their safety on the line to do so. Society should be very thankful we have people like the Wilbers looking after us.”
“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.”