The National Police Public Bravery Awards recognise the assistance provided by members of the public who have intervened to foil criminal acts and come to the assistance of others.
The Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Police Authorities, with the kind support of our sponsors, are proud to present the awards each summer to members of the public nominated by the police officers themselves who investigated and dealt with the crimes they intervened in.
This year Lancashire has 3 winners of medals.
Caroline Ridley - Gold Medal Winner
Londis Store, Walton-Le-Dale
On Wednesday 8 November 2017, an armed robbery occurred at the Londis shop on Severn Drive in Walton-Le-Dale near Preston. The offender, carrying a large knife, entered the store and demanded money from a staff member. Fortunately, the offender dropped the knife allowing the staff member to run out of the store and ring police from a neighbouring shop. The would-be robber, using another large knife, cut the wires to the shop’s till before running off with it. A member of public, outside the shop, saw the offender run off and began following him before stopping a passing motorist, Caroline Ridley, and asking her to follow the offender in her car.
Caroline followed him to a nearby wood where she left the safety of her car and chased him into the woods. She tackled the offender to the ground before attempting to drag him back towards the road in the hope of returning him to the shop. However, the offender, who was still brandishing the large knife threatened to kill Caroline if she did not let go. On seeing the knife, she released him; however, she managed to retain a bag containing the stolen money from the till. Caroline’s actions were critical to the investigation as it created the continuity from the robbery location to the woods, where officers subsequently found discarded clothing that directly led to the early identification of the offender. Forensic opportunities from the discarded items secured an early guilty plea from the offender in court.
Caroline’s actions and bravery, with little regard for her own safety, went far beyond what could be reasonably expected from a member of the public.
Following a guilty plea, the offender received a six-year custodial sentence.
Debra Mary Briggs / Carol Peterson - Silver Medal Winner
Westmorland Avenue, Cleveleys
While on duty on Wednesday 2 November 2016, a police officer was in the process of dealing with the report of a missing person when he spotted the vehicle the man was thought to be in. After requesting it to stop, the officer approached the car but the man, without warning, began a sustained and frenzied attack on the officer, stabbing him repeatedly around the chest area, as well as raining down kicks and punches upon his body and head.
While the officer fought desperately for his life, Debra Briggs and her mother, Carol Peterson, were on their way to a family funeral when they saw the officer being attacked. With no regard for their own safety, they stopped their vehicles and challenged the man who, at that time, was still punching the officer. The intervention by Debra and Carol appeared to unsettle the man who, as a consequence, returned to his vehicle and fled the area. The officer suffered a puncture wound to his stomach, a fractured left arm and bruising to his body and face during the attack. The man was eventually located and, following a long pursuit, was detained following Taser deployment.
There is little doubt Debra and Carol’s public-spirited intervention saved the constable’s life.
The offender was found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent and sentenced to a hospital order under the Mental Health Act. The presiding judge accepted the incident was wholly due to the man suffering from a paranoid schizophrenic episode.