Episode 3 Britain's Bravest Cops

Episode 3

Series looking at some of Britain's most courageous police officers, with reconstructions of extraordinary acts of heroism, and footage from police units up and down the country.

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Plaza next copper I am well aware of hidden dangers facing Britain's


police officers. Suddenly a nice -- a knife is moved and the next


movement can mean the difference between life and death. Each year


the Police Federation Bravery Awards celebrate heroism and


bravery. Week during those on the streets as they continue to crack


down on crime. This is Britain's This week the most courageous


policemen in country of being honoured at the annual Police


Federation Bravery Awards. Most of them are ordinary officers fighting


a daily battle to protect the public. It is a battle that often


puts their own lives on the line as they go after the toughest


criminals. Today we retell the story of a lone police officer who


finds herself face-to-face with a violent burglar in a dark alley.


All I could see was the hammer above my head and I thought he was


going to hit me. It was the look in his eye. He had the capability of


caving my head in. Pc Nick Peters launches a series of dawn raids


against drug crime in Strong intelligence stating there


is drug intelligence -- dealing taking place. And a tense stand-off


for PC Natalie Webster and her canine partner Sadie. They were


called in to help control anti- social behaviour before it get out


of hand. It is protecting the Our brave cops come face-to-face


with many dangerous situations on their quest to protect and serve


the public but sometimes their actions go well beyond the call of


duty. The heroism of one Wiltshire officer almost cost him his life.


In January 2008 police dog handler PC Neil Sampson was out on routine


patrol with his faithful partner Anya. It was an ordinary day. Day


shift, nothing spectacular, very cold day, when I heard a report of


a man in a block of flats with a knife and one of our firearms unit


had been dispatched. They headed straight to the scene. I had been


there for a short while and a man came at the block of flats. I


called out to him. Spun and started walking towards me. He presented no


threat but you walk -- but he was getting closer and there was blood


on his trousers. As the man walked towards him he was momentarily


distracted by the arrival of the firearms unit. I remember taking my


eyes off him for a second, and the man that had been a preaching quite


happily with no real threat was now advancing towards me with a knife


in his hand. He was slashing backwards and forwards, left to


right, across his body with the knife. He got to a point where I


thought you are not going to stop, and you can have this. I sent at


the dock. -- I sent the dog. She went straight at him and hit him


head on and he turned and was slashing at her with a knife. My


next memory is I don't know where I am but I can feel really hard


banging on the back of my head. The man began a frenzied attack on Neil


and by now firearms officers Mick Mansell and Ciarian Hickey had


arrived and were closing in. He was lunging his knife into the back of


his head, a downward slashing motion causing as much damage as


possible. As they rushed towards Neil what happened next took them


completely by surprise. He turned round to look at us and ran towards


us. Not the sort of actions I expected. We discharged our taser


is practically together -- tasers. They had no effect. You are meant


to drop to the ground, you are not. Be delivered short, sharp -- sharp


shocks they could have made him lose control of his muscles but he


was oblivious. He jumped forward, took us by surprise. I took a pace


back. Behind me was a concrete step and as I fell backwards to the


ground he was over the top of May jabbing down and sloshing around


with a knife. -- top of me. The attacker was targeting his second


Kop. Neil was determined to rescue make and launched himself directly


at the knifeman. Around wasn't thinking if I could kick his leg


and hopefully disable him it would save M. Unfortunately I gave


everything I had but I missed him. Neil collapse on the floor and the


attacker started ferociously stabbing him again. From that point


really I remember seeing a taster been deployed in very slow motion,


watching the darts fly through the air was uncanny. His colleagues


were doing everything they could to get a tackle of Neil but he seemed


invincible. -- the attacker. tried with as much as force as they


could, having no effect. At that point I picked my case up and


stoned him without the card each. This time it would have delivered a


painful shock. I tried five times to be no the region and the last


one as a Pacitti and he shouted, the weirdest thing I have ever had


-- as I pushed it in. He threw the knife, I grabbed hold of him and


handcuffed him. He said, can I have a glass of water please?


suspect had finally been subdued but at a terrible cost. Whilst


trying to save Mick Mansell Neil had been stabbed several times.


Anya the dog also sustained a knife wound but luckily both Anya and


Neil made a full recovery and are both back at work. The fact I am


sad here able to talk about this incident is amazing because you


hear about kids getting stabbed and they die of one stab wound. I have


had seven and still set it talking to you.


After his brush with police dog Anya the offender spent three weeks


in hospital and is in prison. Neil and his colleagues received a


police bravery award and Anya received the highest honour in the


land, a gold medal for the People's Unfortunately what Neil and his


team went through it is not uncommon. Into doesn't donate one


knife attack -- attack was recorded every 24 minutes -- in 2008. In


Northamptonshire at the police are fighting back. They are dealing


cannabis from the address. Groups coming and going at all times.


Recently they launched Operation Guardian to track down on


spiralling crime rates across the Today after months of preparation


officers are about to swoop on properties and search for illegal


drugs as they battle to read out crime. Pash read out. It is 7:30am


and a highly trained team of officers are are preparing to raid


three addresses. We will Pullen, make sure nobody pulls in. You


drive past the dress and there are two officers at the rear. -- past


the address. Nick is on his way to arrest a suspect for drugs offences


and searched his house. It has attracted a lot of anti-social


behaviour outside and men between 18 and 30 hanging around the area,


being a nuisance to neighbours and causing a lot of concern, so much


so There is a residents get to go near the dress. Some areas are


beginning to have a reputation for anti-social behaviour and Nick and


his team have to be prepared for the worst. He might be an empty


dress. On the other hand he might be a group of people with firearms,


knives. We do our best to research this so we were limited been a


threat towards us as police officers. We have full protective


equipment including stab vest. But we do have to be mindful of what


dangers thereof. Sometimes properties have even been booby-


trapped with fissures weapons designed to injure anyone who comes


through the door. -- vicious. sure everyone is ready. Happy?


Two officers in riot gear get ready to force the door before anyone


inside is alerted to the presence Are you all right? Take his seat.


We asked -- here as part of Operation Guardian. We believe


there's drug-dealing taking place at this address. We have a warrant


to search the premises. That is fine. The do you understand? Yes.


Before I go through the details are there any drugs in his property.


Yes. Court totally by surprise the suspect these the police to his --


without a fight. Shockingly it is hidden in a box of children's


sweets. Cannabis their own backs. A small plastic box. Some scales.


understand we are here to do our job. Anything as we need to know?


Straightaway the gentleman has stated he has got cannabis on an


and we have placated his box in kids' playroom. With some scales.


Potentially 40 or 50 individual wraps would would be about �10 each.


We have to send us away to sea distributors and dependent on the


strength it depends what happens. This year in just one day alone


there were five arrests for drug- related crime in Northampton. With


an estimated 3,600 drug-users in County it is an ongoing battle. But


this is a good result for the Operation Guardian team. Keen to


make people aware the police are watching the area news of the rest


is quickly broadcast. I have spoken to the inspector and


given him the details and within five minutes he has put on Facebook


and twitter stating and Mail Under arrest from this address, what the


her address is and the community know within five minutes which


keeps everything happy and up-to- date. Northampton police have found


it pays to have a high profile in areas of drug crime and one local


people to witness the rates and see the police are waiting and winning


an active walk on drug did -- a war on drug dealing. Supplying cannabis


carries a stiff sentence of 14 years. It is by far the most common


type of drug dealing. But across town surveillance has led


Northampton's drugs what to a potentially more serious crime. --


scored. We have intelligence a man is doodling in heroin and cocaine -


- dealing. He has had several warrants in the past, he is aware


of Operation Guardian and were off for police sentence we use. There


was a lot at stake. If court and found guilty of dealing Class A


drugs offenders face up to life in jail. Even being convicted of


possession can lead to unlimited fines or a sentence of up to seven


years. He was known to us for robbery. His associates and known


for GBH. They could potentially have any domestic weapons such as


kitchen knives, knuckle-dusters, anything they can get their hands


Nick and his team never know when they are heading into a potentially


risky situation. Unfortunately, violence against officers is all


too common. Last year, over 100 police officers were assaulted in


Northamptonshire, three of them seriously. Are we ready? Today,


anything can happen. The enforcement team is primed and


ready to go. Police! Inside, it's blatantly obvious what's going on


We haven't done a complete search yet, however we have straightaway


the pungent smell of cannabis. We went straight through and we found


the remnants of a cannabis factory which is potentially a lot bigger


than we first suspected. The male isn't in the premises, so we'll


look to try and locate him. There are a few scrappings here of what


he's done to try and sell. For now, we'll search the premises and see


what else we can find. Even though the suspect is absent, Nick


believes he has struck gold. It's obviously a sophisticated operation.


This is a heavy-duty lamp that provides enough heat for cannabis


so they can grow rapidly, 24 hours sunlight. So the plants are growing


almost from a tiny bud on there to about there for about three months.


Once it's got a bit bigger than that, you can dry it out and chop


it down and it's ready to go. police are now finding that more


and more cannabis is been grown here, rather than being imported


from elsewhere. Over here, we have the main buds from the plants. He's


drying this out now so he'll chop up the leaves and sell them on, or


he'll take the bud from it and grow from there. In one year alone


across the UK, nearly 7,000 illegal cannabis farms were uncovered.


Feeding the habit of nearly 1 million regular cannabis users. In


Northamptonshire last year, police shut down 150 cannabis factories.


But of course, Nick wants to get the man behind this one. We've got


an officer outside waiting just in case he comes back. He'll be wanted


for conservation of cannabis. that's not all, during the search,


officers have also found what they suspect are stolen goods. That


PlayStation is linked to three crimes. There's a serial number


which matches one given by the victim of a burglary, so we believe


that's one from a burglary. Everything is carefully bagged and


recorded. We'll call that bedroom one and two. We want all those


plants over there. Put them in a bag, that's the bud. All the plants.


Nick's team are closely followed by a sniffer dog to make sure nothing


is missed. We're looking for Class- A heroin and cannabis. We're


finishing off the bathroom and kitchen, finishing here and then


into the attic. You tell us what you want. I'll just work my way


round. But the strong smell of cannabis is hightening the dog's


senses. Their noses are very sensitive, so it's not ideal to


search in an address where there's a cannabis factory. That said,


she's got a very powerful nose so hopefully if there is some Class A


here, she'll find it. But the dog draws a blank. Nick and his team


dismantle what's left of the cannabis factory. We've made sure


that all our efforts are concentrated on seizing the


evidence itself, taking down anything used to grow the cannabis,


and then look to locate the male, which should be put on our wanted


system, and we'll speak with him when he comes in. There's now a


warrant out for the arrest of the suspect. Since launching Operation


Guardian, Northamptonshire Police have seen a 20 per cent reduction


in robberies, burglaries and vehicle crime across the county.


And the high-profile campaign against drug offenders seems to be


Thankfully, there were no nasty surprises for Northamptonshire


Police today, but last year, their fellow officers were not so lucky.


Three plain-clothed cops were watching a block of flats in an


unmarked car one December afternoon. They had a warrant to arrest a


highly dangerous man. Recently released from prison, 44 year-old


Ian Scott had spent the past 24 days on a crime spree. There's not


really much to do except wait to see if the off's been sighted. We


were anticipating that we might be sitting in the car all day. But of


course, that wasn't to be. After just a few minutes of surveillance,


the officers spotted their suspect coming towards their car.


noticed a male matching his description walk along in front of


us approximately 20 metres away. From all the information we'd been


getting and from the information of his description, I was confident


that this was the person we were looking for. Three of us got out of


our car at the same time, identified ourselves as police


officers and told him to stop. He became very agitated them and I


would think he was worried. He turned round and he started to run


away from us back where he'd come from. At that point, we started to


run after him. The unarmed officers were dealing with an unpredictable


suspect and he was about to prove just how dangerous he could be.


remember him reaching into his left pocket and he pulled out a plastic


bag which he unravelled and dropped on the floor, and inside this bag


was a black hand gun. I could see the look in his eye and he was


definitely pointing it in my direction. The gunman fired


directly at the officers. Instinctively, Jon and Richard


dived for cover, but Raj stood still, frozen to the spot. I could


just see the whole of the end tip of the firearm and when he shot it,


I thought, what am I going to do from this point? Shall I continue,


shall I fall to the ground, or shall I just remain where I am? I


thought, it's too late, I'm going to get shot and I'm going to be


dead. Raj heard the gun fire another three or four times, but


astonishingly, all the shots missed. What the officers did next showed


remarkable bravery. There's no way this guy's getting away from us now,


considering what he's done and the time of day. Loads of people


milling around, and if we'd left this guy run off with a firearm,


who knows? Myself, Raj and Richard continued to pursue him. At great


risk to themselves, the officers were now in hot pursuit of a


dangerous criminal. Jon dashed round the back of the building to


cut off any escape route. I was faced with the suspect with his


back to me and he had the firearm held up pointing at Richard and Raj


at very close range. The two brave officers found themselves staring


down the barrel of a gun. You see scenes like this in movies and


things like that and you don't really realise that it could happen


to you. So when it did happen, time slows down and you do kind of,


there was a momentary pause of, OK, so now what happens? While the


plain-clothed officers were wearing stab vests, they had little


protection against bullets. happened so quickly. We all gave


him clear instructions, put the gun down, it's the police, put the gun


down. It was touch and go. wrong move could mean the


difference between life and death. Then Richard and Jon saw their


chance to end this nightmare. think there was a sense of


realisation that he'd been caught and he wasn't going to be going


anywhere. When I saw him kind of relax his shoulders and lower his


arm and drop the gun to the floor and I saw Richard and Raj inch


towards him, I knew they were going to try and contain him, and I


caught him from behind and he was taken to the ground. Finally, the


violent robber had been caught. It turned out the gun was in fact an


imitation, but the officers couldn't have known that at the


time. For fearlessly tackling what they thought was an armed and


highly dangerous man, they each received a police bravery award.


Sometimes, I think we take it for granted that we'll be going home at


night and, realistically, that incident brought home that there


are some really horrible people out there that are intent on causing


harm to individuals and police officers, and that maybe we


shouldn't take it for granted that everything's going to be OK.


offender is now serving more than eight years in prison for shooting


at the police. Thanks to the courage of those three officers,


another dangerous criminal is off Just like we saw with our brave


cops in Northamptonshire, arresting violent criminals is one of the


toughest jobs for Britain's police. There's always the danger that


someone's going to get hurt. But in the most extreme cases, the police


have one last trick up their sleeves - the dog unit. Police


officer, stop! Stop, or we'll send in the dog! Police dogs are not


pets, these highly-skilled animals are trained to attack everyone


except the officer they're partnered with. At the end of the


day, no matter what, Sadie will protect me. That's one thing she


will do. And if someone comes to attack me, she'll protect me. And I


will always look after her as well. But I feel that having the dog


there is a great support. handler Natalie Webster works the


beat in West Mercia Police with her German Shepherd, Sadie. They've


been partners for more than four years. This highly efficient team


provides back-up on the most dangerous call-outs, from firearms


incidents to public disorder. feel 100 times safer having Sadie


than I would do if I was on my own. Obviously, I've worked on my own as


well and in some situations, I wouldn't get Sadie out, but I know


she's there in the van if the situation arises that I need to get


her. It's Friday night at Worcester Central Police Station. Natalie and


her fellow officers are preparing to raid a house to arrest a man


who's jumped bail. What we'll do first is go round the building,


bang the door, and if we can't get any response, see if he's in there.


If he's in there, we'll use our powers and go in. Do you want me to


go round the back? Yes, if you would. We're going to an address to


try and arrest somebody who's wanted on warrant. He's known to


have mental health problems and he's not taken his medication, so


they suspect he may be a problem, so they've asked for dog support.


Sadie will protect the arresting officers and the public if things


turn ugly. And with more than 100 assaults on West Mercia Police


officers last year, the cops are always glad for some canine back-up.


You can start walking while he's drinking.


Any job can be dangerous and anything can turn into a dangerous


job. Sadie can stop anybody running off. She's also there as a presence


barking. Sometimes, that's enough to stop somebody from playing up.


They'll see the dog and think, no, it's not worth it, and they'll


comply. If not, the dog can be used if it's necessary. Once at the


address, Natalie and Sadie quickly get into position, trying not to


alert the suspect. Whilst two officers cover the front door,


Natalie and Sadie head round the back in case the suspect makes a


It's a tense few minutes, but Sadie's presence is enough to


intimidate the man and he doesn't resist. I'm going to have to give


you a pat down to make sure you haven't got anything sharp.


Although the arrest has gone smoothly, Natalie and the team


suddenly find themselves in the midst of a threatening situation.


You BLEEP! BLEEP! You what? You want to watch your mouth, or you're


going to get locked up! Without a second thought, Natalie confronts


the man. I suggest you go home, you've had enough to drink, haven't


you? The young man appears drunk and is becoming aggressive. Stop


being an idiot and go home. I've seen you before. Natalie and the


other officers are instantly on their guard. At moments like this,


anything could happen. You're the drunk one, calm yourself down, get


yourself home. The man seems to be spoiling for a


fight. You've called us over by the way you're mouthing off, why don't


you just go home? For the moment, Sadie stays in the van. She's


trained to catch criminals and will bite, so Natalie has to choose


carefully when to use her. If I had Sadie here, the rest of the group


might move away more quickly. But you've got to justify it. It's


somebody just being drunk and disorderly at the end of the day,


it's not a serious offence, so this time it's not necessary to get her


out, there's enough police to deal with it. The question is always,


haven't you got anything better to do? Well, yeah, we have, but at the


end of the day, you can't leave him shouting in the street and being


drunk. For Natalie and her fellow officers, dealing with drunken


troublemakers is all too common on a Friday night. But it's a problem


across the country, with 70 per cent of stabbings and beatings done


It is not too long before Natalie Just been called to a shout from a


paramedic attending an end to cheat -- incident in the High Street.


Things must be serious. All the emergency services have a special


alarm button that lets them intercept police communications


when they are in trouble. Natalie the lights to the scene. -- blue.


The young woman has attracted a crowd and things are getting tense.


Natalie heads in with Sadie to try and calm things down a see what


she's doing, don't walk into the dock. You will get bitten. Groups


of Duncan disorderly revellers are roaming the streets and getting out


of hand. Dogs are an effective tool for the police. They can often


With Natalie's help the late night troublemakers are soon under arrest.


When you have got a dog you act in a different way. Whereas a shift


officer might get hands-on, arrest people, if you have got your dog


they will do the work. Unless you're going to use it to buy


somebody you want to keep people away porky people away from


officers. -- keep people away. is a busy night. Within minutes of


sorting out one at drunken showdown there is another one kicking off


seven miles away in Worcester city Pubs have called Last Orders and


everybody is spilling out onto the streets. There has already been a


fight and one youth arrested. Natalie steps straight in with


Sadie to support her fellow officers. Despite having an


aggressive police dog snapping at them the arrested youths mates are


getting edgy. Natalie uses Sadie to do what she does best, keep back


the rowdy crowd while her fellow officers moving to arrest his


Get him. Friends of the young man are trying to get closer to the


arresting officers but Sadie keeps them away. Don't go near, keep back.


You want to go round, go that way. Definitely a useful resource


protecting the offices dealing with the prisoner, so it is keeping


people away from them. It has been a hectic time for Natalie and her


fellow officers. With all these revellers out on a Friday and


Saturday night they see five times more violent crime in the city


centre and typically it all happens between midnight and the early


While Natalie Spen is a lot of her shifts supporting fellow officers


making arrests, with CD by her side she is often called to deal with


incidents on heroin. -- with Sadie. Intruders have been spotted at a


farm and Sadie's sensitive nose is needed. I'm coming over. Within a


few minutes Natalie is on the scene. Hello. Did you call us? How many


were there? Two. Had they gone to the left? I don't know. They have


gone this way. Thank you. Two males made off on foot and I'm going to


Good girl. It was the end of the farm he chance upon the intruders.


I just took the dog out for his nightly walk and he was walking at


the back when he saw something cracked down and assure my torch


and there was a man trying to steal the diesel -- I shone. Another one


came down from the upstairs granary down the steps and they both ran


from the corner. The diesel thieves fled as soon as they were disturbed


by the farmer. Sadie has picked up their scent and Natalie wastes no


time chasing after them into the night. This is incredibly risky.


Natalie is hot on heroin with no back-up and has no idea how


dangerous they can beat -- a date - Sadie is focused and doing a


tremendous job. She tracks the suspect for 50 minutes before other


officers arrived. Did you go of the The main road, you will come up.


This time that thieves have got away. We tracked away through the


fields and come out on a driveway. They have clearly got into a


vehicle. Unfortunately that is where we lost it. As West Mercia's


patch covers a lot of farm and agriculture crime is on the


increase. With the spiralling cost of fuel, default deft from farms is


a growing problem. -- diesel theft. There is some consolation for this


farmer. We believe they got away empty-handed. The barrels are still


left in situ so they have been spooked and maybe they have got


some billion pincer. Looked like they have got away empty handed.


There is nothing left for Natalie and Sadie to do so they had into


plan to deal with any drunken strugglers. Tonight the evening has


been slow to start with but picked up. A bit of a truck with the dock.


A couple of other incidents were the dog wasn't able to be used but


I have been noticeable. And that is Britain's police officers know all


too well that night patrols bring with them an extra element of


danger. Trouble is more likely to erupt under the cover of darkness.


One night in 2010 Humberside PC Lee's Smith was running one last


errand before the end of her shift. -- Louise. 9pm she was driving into


the town centre where a call came over the Prince -- police radio and


alarm had gone off at a shot close by -- shop. The front of the


building was fine, the shutters were down and it looked in order. I


thought I best check the back of the premises as we do to make sure


the premises is secured throughout. Galloway was very dark so I was


quite wary. I make sure I had my wits a white -- a balmy -- the


alley way. I had a rustling sound. I saw a man dressed in dark


clothing. Half inside the building, half out. The door open. He she


disturbed a burglar and found herself in a terrifying predicament.


She due risk tackling the man on her own or letting go? -- should


she risk. I was away from the main road when the people were present.


Quite scary. I did think I really could do with some help now. I wish


I had a colleague with me at this present time. I just kept thinking


I'm not letting you get away with this. She summoned all her courage


to confront the man. As I approached I said to him stay way


you are. He did. He stayed hunched over he teamed, initially. He


started to spin round so then we came face to face. But before she


knew it he broke free from her grasp and ran towards a 10 ft metal


fence. He was trying to clamber over it but she wasn't giving up


that easily. Appleton back down by his jacket. We started scuffling.


At that moment because he seemed a lot stronger than me I thought I


eight need back-up so I pressed my Her call one straight through to


the police control room and cut into radio traffic alerting all


But for the moment she was all on her own, grappling with a desperate


man. I was dead king and to his jacket because he was trying to


escape -- dragging. He produced a hammer, held it above the head.


Kept saying let's go. I said no. At the Hamadan. Or legacy was the


hammer for my head. Thinking as yet know what is going to happen. I


thought he was going to hit me with it. The look in his eye, he had the


capability of cabling my head and with a hammer and it was quite


frightened. -- caving. A single blow to the head would be enough to


seriously injure or even kill her. Although she had called for back-up


she was still very much on heroin. I tried to put my left arm up to


move the on holding a hammer away from by which point he even bit,


left arm. I yelled. The pain was so quick and sharp and then let go. He


had a chance to turn round and round off but I was seconds and


then pulled him back. All I could think of was I'm not letting this


person go. Through sheer determination she managed to keep


hold of the suspect. When back-up arrived and I could hear the sirens


the relief I felt was immense. Finally her fellow officers found


her at an straightaway arrested a man. It did on them he he could


have hit me with his weapon -- dawn on me. It could have gone straight


through my head. Officers could have turned up to find me laid at


the scene if it had gone terribly wrong. But it is part of my day-to-


day role and I expect I might come across situations like this or


confrontation and it is part of daily life as being a police


officer. Her heroic actions got the result


she wanted. The dangerous man was put behind bars for three and half


years for burglary and assault. Louise was honoured in this year's


Next time... We retell the moment when teach


courageous officers to go -- 1 two courageous officers struggled


through heat to rescue a mother and baby from a flat fire. My thought


was she doesn't answer the door there was a possibility and might


Passat. We are on the streets of Aberdeen with an elite police dog


As Britain's most courageous police officers are honoured in the Annual Police Federation Bravery Awards, Britain's Bravest Cops tells their stories and highlights the day-to-day bravery of officers on the frontline. Each episode reconstructs extraordinary acts of heroism, and follows police units up and down the country in hazardous operations as they crack down on crime.

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