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Selfless officers face up to danger to keep the public safe

Most of us will never know how it feels to have our lives put in danger on a regular basis during our working life. 

Selfless officers face up to danger to keep the public safe

Photo shows PC Darren Brimacombe and PC Tim Willett (picture credit: Martis Media)


It’s hard to imagine setting out to do your job, with no clear idea of what situation you’re going to walk into, only to find yourself seriously injured and facing the very real risk of not coming home again. 


That was the reality for two Devon and Cornwall Police officers, who last week were recognised for their bravery after being subjected to a frenzied knife attack on Dartmoor while responding to a report of a high-risk missing man who had left home following a domestic assault. 


PCs Tim Willett and Darren Brimacombe were left with serious knife wounds during the incident in Princetown in July 2021. PC Brimacombe was repeatedly stabbed, sustaining cuts to his eyelid and scalp, narrowly missing an eye and nearly having his nose cut off, then suffering a serious arterial bleed when he was stabbed in the arm. 


As PC Willett attempted to save his colleague from his attacker, he was stabbed in the arm and his fingers were sliced. He removed his own tourniquet to help PC Brimacombe who was bleeding heavily and couldn’t apply his own.  


Both men required multiple operations as part of their recovery, and it was fortunate an armed response unit 50 miles away was monitoring transmissions and able to mobilise early, otherwise the outcome could have been very different.  


Their attacker, who was under the influence of alcohol at the time, is now serving a 12-year sentence for the assault which the sentencing judge said caused “immense psychological damage”. For PC Brimacombe, who feared his family might not see him again, and PC Willet, whose selfless actions saved his friend’s life, the memory of this day will no doubt stay with them forever. 


The pair both received a Chief Constable’s Commendation at Downing Street last week. I am immensely proud of how PCs Willett and Brimacombe acted on that day, and I join Chief Constable Kerr in thanking them for their courage and professionalism. 


They were joined on the day by a number of other officers from across the country being recognised as shining examples of British policing. Awarded the National Police Bravery Award were the 14 officers who attended the tragedy in Solihull in December last year, where four children lost their lives after plunging through the ice of a frozen lake, a truly horrific incident which will likely have a profound and lasting impact on all involved. 


These are just two of countless examples of how police officers face up to dangerous and traumatic situations every day in the line of duty, and I know that most if not all of the men and women serving in our constabulary and others will have felt threatened or in danger at some point in their career.  


At a time when officers’ behaviour is under intense national scrutiny, it’s important we also remember the good they do, the risks they face, and the courage and selflessness they show in protecting not only the public but their trusted colleagues too. 


Last week, the Government announced a public sector pay rise, with police officers jointly with prison officers awarded the highest at 7%. This is fantastic news which I’m sure will be widely welcomed among not only the force but also the members of the public they help to keep safe. 


It’s right that we recognise the daily sacrifices they make not just with awards and commendations but by making sure they are properly recompensed for can be an unpredictable and intensely challenging job, and one that at times comes at great personal cost.