Four Kent Police Constables who helped a man in a life-threatening situation in a supermarket car park were among those honoured at a commendation awards ceremony.
PCs John Clarke, Steve Brown, Claire Pye and Sarah Axell were among 34 individuals who picked up a Chief Constableâ€™s Certificate of Merit or a Commendation at the Kent Police Training School on 14 October. The quartet all picked up Commendations after being called to the Asda car park in Gravesend on 2 April 2014, where a man had doused himself in fuel at the self-service filling station.
Kent Police Chief Inspector Simon Alland, District Commander for Gravesham, said: â€˜The man was holding a lighter in his hand and was trying to spark a flame from it when PC Clarke took the brave decision to physically restrain the man and try to remove the lighter from him. His three colleagues assisted and, thanks to their combined efforts, the man was prevented from causing himself significant if not fatal injuries.â€™
By the conclusion of the incident, all four PCs were covered in fuel while the man was safely taken away for assessment.
PC Clarke said: â€˜This incident was beyond the normal routine, and one I still think about quite a lot. The guy was covered in fuel and flicking the lighter repeatedly and I just thought I canâ€™t watch this man go up in flames and not try and do anything.
â€˜So I ran towards him and my colleagues followed suit. We got the lighter off him but were soaked in fuel and for a long time afterwards I just kept thinking of how badly it could have gone.
â€˜Getting the award means a lot to me and I was very proud to be able to take my family to the ceremony.â€™
Kent Policeâ€™s Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: â€˜Kent Police officers are called to difficult and potentially dangerous situations every day. They risk their own safety by putting themselves in harmâ€™s way to protect the public. It is right they get the recognition they deserve, which is why I am always so proud to attend these awards events to personally thank officers and staff for their service to the people of Kent.â€™
In all, 23 police officers and staff plus seven members of the public received Chief Constableâ€™s Certificates of Merit or Commendations. A further 11 Kent Police officers and civilian staff received long-service awards.