Officer saves members of the public from axeman

An unarmed West Midlands police officer who single-handedly took on an axe-wielding man has received a Police Bravery Award.

Constable Paul Hopley was patrolling alone in Birmingham when a postman flagged him down and alerted him to a man hacking at a bus stop with a three-foot long axe.

Fearing for the safety of the public, Paul stopped his police car so that it blocked both lanes of traffic. He called for back-up and tried to engage with the man.

The offender taunted him, saying he wanted officers to shoot him and wanted to die. Paul tried to use CS gas on him but it had no effect and the man turned the axe on the police car instead.

Still alone on the scene, Paul could only talk to the man and try to calm him down. Eventually Paul was able to persuade the man to put his axe down and handcuff him without any injury to himself, the man or any of the public. When searched, the man was also found to have a serrated knife.

Ian Edwards, chairman of the West Midlands Police Federation, said: “Paul placed himself at great personal risk in order to detain this man. He had requested support, including a specialist firearms unit, but rather than withdraw to safety until they arrived, he showed exceptional courage, placing himself in harm’s way to protect the local community. Despite the risk he faced, he was able to resolve a tense and dangerous situation without harm to anyone.”

The Police Bravery Awards recognise police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty. They are organised by the Police Federation of England and Wales and took place on 14 July 2016.