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18 October 2013, 06:24
A Norfolk police officer who continued to pursue a wanted man through Norwich despite having been slashed with a knife has won the Eastern region Police Bravery Award.
The award was presented to PC Bentley by the Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, at a glittering awards ceremony in London which followed a reception at 10 Downing Street PC Bentley met the Prime Minister, David Cameron and Home Secretary, Theresa May.
PC Martin Bentley was one of a number of officers who responded to a domestic in Darrell Place, Norwich, at 4.25am on a Friday morning in February 2012. It had been reported that a statue had been thrown through a window and the suspect, identified as a violent offender wanted for other matters, had driven off.
PC Bentley approached the scene spotted the car and tried to pull it over. The suspect failed to stop and a pursuit through the Norwich area began before ending in Vauxhall Street, where the suspect left the car and ran off. PC Bentley gave chase on foot through several dark alleyways.
The suspected suddenly turned towards PC Bentley and produced a knife. He threatened to kill the officer and thrust the knife towards him. PC Bentley then attempted to deploy his PAVA spray but the suspect turned and once again ran. The officer continued to chase the man as he ran up a drive way and attempted to climb a high gate next to a private house. PC Bentley managed to grab the leg of the suspect, who slashed at him with the knife around the neck and shoulder area, subsequently slashing him around the finger area. This allowed the offender to escape but PC Bentley was undeterred by his injury and continued his pursuit, eventually being joined by other officers.
They managed to corner the offender, who continued to lash out at anyone who came close. With batons drawn the officers eventually overcame the suspect and he was arrested.
The wound to PC Bentley’s hand required 16 stitches and skin grafts.
The offender was sentenced to nine years and two months in prison for causing grievous bodily harm in the attack on PC Bentley and numerous other offences including blackmail and possession of a firearm.
Steve Williams, Chair, Police Federation of England and Wales, said:
“Despite threats to his life and near fatal injuries, PC Bentley persisted in his pursuit of this armed man; he is a courageous and determined officer. PC Bentley is a deserving winner, a credit to the force and the police service as a whole.”
Paul Ridgway, Chair, Norfolk Police Federation said:
“We are exceptionally pleased for Martin that he has won this award. He is a very modest man and this makes it all the more deserved. We now wish him well for his nomination at the Stars of Norfolk Awards for tomorrow night”
Stephen Mann, CEO, Police Mutual, said:
“It is a real honour for Police Mutual to be able to support the Police Bravery Awards. It is only right that we pay tribute to all the remarkable acts of heroism and dedication displayed by all the officers nominated and our deepest admiration goes to all of them. We want to do all we can to help raise the profile of the work of the Police. Our sponsorship of these awards comes from our deep belief in and respect for the Police Service and what it does and enables us to recognise the incredibly difficult situations they face to keep us all safe.”