Two courageous police officers based in Mildenhall who stopped a man stabbing himself to death won a award for their bravery at a national ceremony last night.
Pc Rebecca Gardiner, from Thurston, and Pc Paul Osmond tackled a drunk man with a knife after he began stabbing himself in the stomach before attempting to wound them.
For their courage in dealing with this violent offender, the officers won the eastern region Police Bravery Award in a ceremony in central London, attended by the home secretary, police minister Mike Penning and Met Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.
They were presented their award by Stephen Mann, chief executive of Police Mutual.
Pc Gardiner said: “We are both shocked and flattered to be nominated. It is overwhelming and exciting to feel that we have won this award.
“It seems really surreal, like last night happened to someone else. We are really honoured to have been part of it.
“The support from people has been incredible and to have the actions of everyday police officers, whoever they are, recognised in this way is incredible.”
The officers were called to a road traffic incident on July 3 2012 where one car had made off from the scene.
Their enquiries led them to an address in Newmarket, where they found the driver apparently under the influence of alcohol. This was confirmed by a breath test.
While in the kitchen of the house, the offender grabbed a large knife from a drawer and began stabbing himself in the stomach before turning the blade on the officers.
He lunged with the knife towards Pc Gardiner, who jumped back as the knife struck her stab vest. He then waved the blade close to Pc Osmond’s face before the officer elbowed him in the stomach and caused him to drop it.
Together the officers managed to place the man in handcuffs before back up arrived.
Before last night’s ceremony, the officers joined 64 of their colleagues from 31 forces around the country for a reception at 10 Downing Street with Prime Minister David Cameron to celebrate their heroic acts.
Steve White, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “I am constantly humbled and amazed by the selfless acts of bravery carried out by police officers on a day to day basis.
“Each nominee is a credit to the police service and to the community they serve.”
Stephen Mann said: “Every day, police officers across the country face incredibly difficult and dangerous situations, acting with real heroism to protect the lives of others.
“All of the officers nominated for an award have shown great dedication to their duty and remarkable courage.”