A courageous Cambridgeshire officer who suffered serious head injuries when he was attacked after being called out to a domestic incident has been honoured at the national Police Bravery Awards.
PC Leo Clarke (24) joined nominees from across England and Wales at the ceremony in London on Thursday (9 December) attended by policing minister Kit Malthouse, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.
Leo and his partner, Sophie, were joined at the event by Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom, Assistant Chief Constable Vicki Evans and Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston.
PC Clarke was nominated for the bravery he showed when he responded to reports from a man saying he was unable to control his adult son who had mental health issues.
He arrived at the incident as the lone officer and found the man and his son outside the house. The 27-year-old man was in an agitated state and started shouting at the officer before attacking him.
A witness described how PC Clarke suffered several blows to the head before his attacker went back inside. The assailant was arrested at the scene when other officers arrived and warned him they would use a Taser unless he surrendered.
PC Clarke, who had been a police officer for just 18 months at the time of the attack, then left the address and returned to Thorpe Wood Police Station but started to feel unwell.
A welfare check by a supervisor revealed he was squinting and had started to slur his words. He was taken to Peterborough City Hospital where his condition continued to deteriorate and doctors discovered he had a bleed on the brain.
Emergency surgery was performed to stop the bleed and PC Clarke remained in hospital for five days.
The surgery has left him with scarring across his head but he has recently returned to work.
His attacker admitted causing grievous bodily harm without intent and was sentenced to one year and eight months when he appeared at Peterborough Crown Court.
Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom: “I felt honoured and proud to accompany Leo to the awards ceremony. He has shown incredible resilience and determination in overcoming his injuries and returning to a job which he says he still loves. I am pleased that having returned to work he is now looking forward to continuing his career and serving the communities of Cambridgeshire just as he originally intended when he joined the Force.”
Four West Yorkshire Police officers who detained two attackers who murdered a man with a samurai sword were named overall winners at the awards ceremony organised by the Police Federation of England and Wales.
The colleagues were honoured for their professionalism during a horrific incident in January 2020 when they responded to reports of a man being viciously attacked outside a pharmaceutical factory in Huddersfield.
The officers – one of whom was in the first two weeks of her career – were confronted by the barbaric sight of attackers hacking at the victim with a sword and knives when they arrived at the scene. They bravely managed to detain both assailants, despite the offenders still being in possession of the murder weapon and knives.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the “dedication and conscientiousness” of all the nominees and paid tribute to their bravery.
He said: “Acts of bravery in policing are, necessarily and thankfully for us all, commonplace. Every day, local and national media is awash with examples of police heroism. Be it confronting dangerous and violent people, rescuing members of the public or working day and night on the most harrowing of cases, bravery is a defining characteristic of the police.
“It is this unflinching bravery, alongside your dedication and conscientiousness, that inspires my steadfast support for the police.
“I am bowled over by the nominees. You are a credit to your forces and your illustrious forebears in policing. I salute each and every one of you.”
Kerry McMahon-White, head of partnerships at Police Bravery Awards sponsor Police Mutual, said: “The role of a police officer has never been easy, but the last 18 months has seen you continue to protect the public while battling the unprecedented impact of Covid-19, putting the safety of others before yourself with unwavering commitment.
“I thank each one of you for the sacrifices you have made with resolute dedication in the most difficult of circumstances.
“To all of you who have been nominated; your acts of bravery are exceptional and this evening we pay tribute to your remarkable heroism and dedication.
“All at Police Mutual are honoured to be able to support those who have gone above and beyond and offer our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all nominees.”