Bedfordshire Police officer wins regional accolade at national bravery award PC Willcox-Cassidy Image Bedfordshire Police

Officer single-handedly restrained a woman brandishing a knife

A Bedfordshire Police officer who single-handedly restrained a woman brandishing a knife was named a regional winner at the prestigious Police Bravery Awards on Thursday (18th July 2019).

PC Christopher Willcox-Cassidy was recognised in the 24th annual Police Bravery Awards held by the Police Federation of England and Wales.

The event, sponsored by Police Mutual England and Wales, showcases the work of police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.

PC Willcox-Cassidy, who was just 11 months into his police service, won the regional award for his courage and compassion in dealing with a domestic incident which had become extremely violent and volatile. He said:

“I am honoured to have won the regional national bravery award. This incident showed me what we as officers put ourselves through every day. I wanted to protect the lady from any serious harm and I would do it again if I had to. I was just in the right place at the right time to save her life.

“I would like to thank the Police Federation for nominating me for this award, and the force for their continued support.”

Officer also awarded the Jon Henry Shield

In December 2018, PC Willcox-Cassidy along with his crewmate attended a report of a violent domestic incident. He stayed on his own after the arrest to gather a victim statement from a woman with severe learning difficulties.

Whilst giving her statement, the lady went into the kitchen and returned with a large kitchen knife, threatening to cut her own throat. She started lunging and making swiping movements with the knife towards her husband and the officer.

Realising the seriousness of the situation, PC Willcox-Cassidy immediately tackled the lady and grabbed her arm to stop her waving the knife.

In the struggle the gas cooker was switched on. PC Willcox-Cassidy pressed his emergency button as he restrained the woman, who was still lashing out.

The officer was required to use his Pava spray, ensuring the woman’s husband was not close by, and kept talking and calmly asking the woman to let go of the knife, recognising that she was vulnerable.

Among restraining the woman and updating the force control room, he still had the foresight to ensure the gas cooker was turned off.

Eventually, the knife was prised out of the woman’s hands and PC Willcox-Cassidy placed handcuffs on her, explaining that it was for her safety.

Jim Mallen, chair of the Bedfordshire Police Federation, said:

“The bravery and professionalism shown by PC Willcox-Cassidy went above and beyond the normal call of duty. He showed exceptional bravery in incredibly dangerous circumstances.”

PC Willcox-Cassidy was also awarded the Jon Henry Shield at the Bedfordshire Police Annual Awards evening in June. This award is in memory of PC Jon Henry who was killed in the line of duty in 2007.