Thu, 12 Jul 2018
Two officers from the Metropolitan Police have been named joint overall winners at this year’s national Police Bravery Awards, hosted by the Police Federation of England and Wales.
PC Keith Palmer GM and PC Charlie Guenigault were named joint overall winners at the 23rd national Police Bravery Awards in London. The awards, sponsored by Police Mutual, took place on 12 July to honour and recognise police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery.
PC Palmer was awarded posthumously, after he was tragically killed in a terror attack. He was on duty at Westminster Palace when a terrorist drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, injuring and killing innocent people. He then crashed the vehicle and ran into terrified crowds. Petrified members of the public were running away, passing where PC Palmer was on duty.
Hearing the screaming coming from Westminster Bridge, unarmed PC Palmer immediately ran towards the noise. He began closing the gates, intent on protecting those within Parliament. But as he was doing his job he was set upon by the terrorist and attacked with a knife. Tragically PC Palmer died of his injuries. His brave actions gave armed police critical time to react, potentially saving countless lives.
PC Guenigault was on his way home from relaxing with friends after finishing his shift, when three knife-wielding terrorists attacked the public at London Bridge. Unarmed PC Guenigault was determined to protect the innocent people around him and ran towards the terrorists, fighting them with his bare hands. The terrorists stabbed him repeatedly, leaving him in a critical condition.
He suffered serious injuries to his head, back and stomach, with his life hanging in the balance. During the course of the terrorist attack, Wayne Marques, a British Transport Police (BTP) officer, received significant injuries, eight people were killed and 48 were injured.
On the evening of the awards, Shaun Cartwright, who accepted the award on behalf of PC Keith Palmer GM, said: "I think it has been an amazing evening. Keith truly deserves all the recognition that he has been given. I am here on behalf of Keith and his family to represent them, and I feel so proud. Keith gave his life for this job, which is the most amazing thing anyone can do, and I am proud he was my best friend."
PC Charlie Guenigault, said: "I’m a bit shocked to be honest. When you experience your own traumatic activity you don’t understand the full scale of what you’ve been through. Keith Palmer made the ultimate sacrifice – I’ve got an award but I’m alive and that’s the biggest award you can get. It’s nice to be here and be recognised, but at the end of the day I’m alive, I still get to see my friends and my family get to see me. To me that’s the biggest thing.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are deeply indebted and immensely proud of the courageous policemen and women who regularly risk their own safety to protect the people of Britain.
“The last couple of years have put the bravery of all police forces in England and Wales to the test and I would like to pay special tribute to PC Keith Palmer who paid the ultimate price defending our Parliament.
“The Police Bravery Awards celebrate the commitment, dedication and resilience of the entire police service – and all officers nominated stand as an example to us all.”
Calum Macleod, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “These awards are a chance to showcase the exceptional bravery that officers protecting our country show day in, day out. The heroic deeds we have heard about today did not happen by accident; they were borne of dedication, selflessness and an overwhelming commitment to keeping the public safe.
“Today we commemorate true heroes. PC Keith Palmer GM paid the ultimate sacrifice for his bravery, but thanks to him many, many more deaths were prevented that day. For PC Charlie Guenigault, there was no such thing as ‘off duty’. He ran towards a situation that most of us can’t even imagine, putting himself in grave danger and thinking only of helping others.
“As Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, I am immensely proud to have shared this day with such well deserving nominees and winners. Congratulations to you all.”
Stephen Mann, CEO of Police Mutual, said: “Over the last 10 years, Police Mutual has been proud to have sponsored such an inspirational event in the policing calendar and for my colleagues and I to be able to show our respect for the exceptional courage shown by police officers who risk their lives every day to protect the public and keep us safe."
Read about the regional winners and other nominees
© 2018 Police Federation of England & Wales