Sudbury and Stowmarket police officers who rescued children from shotgun-wielding man in 'terrifying ordeal' nominated for bravery awards
Two Suffolk police officers who rescued children from a shotgun-wielding man who 'threatened to kill them' have been nominated for bravery awards.
PC Jordan Tuck, from Sudbury station, and PC Peter French, from Stowmarket , have been put forward by Suffolk Police Federation for the National Police Bravery Awards in recognition of their 'bravery, tenacity, dynamic thinking and outstanding police work during the terrifying ordeal'.
They will join colleagues from across the country at the Police Federation's National Police Bravery Awards ceremony in London next July.
Darren Harris, Suffolk Police Federation chairman, said the unarmed officers had been 'fearful for their lives, but that had not stopped them from saving the lives of everyone' during the incident at a house on September 8, 2019.
The Federation said the pair knew the call-out 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'.
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 - John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales
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'.
The officers managed to get back into the property and locked the doors to stop the man gaining 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 doused 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 the man had fired the weapon, but it had failed to discharge.
Mr Harris said: "Police officers never know what the call will be when it comes in.
"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 five and a half years 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.
The 2020 event – the 25th National Police Bravery Awards - were scheduled to take place this past summer but had to be cancelled due to coronavirus.
John Apter, national chairman 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.”
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."