Northants - faced threatening armed man

PC Johnny Brereton

PC Johnny Brereton

An unarmed officer who faced a threatening man holding a gun and a claw hammer, has been nominated for a national Police Bravery Award.

PC Johnny Brereton and his colleague were checking on the welfare of a man who was known to have mental health problems. The mental health team had advised that he was making threats towards them and himself, and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and deteriorating mental health.

From outside PC Brereton could see the man through a glass window in the door, sitting on the bed with a claw hammer in one hand and a metal revolver in the other. The officers withdrew to the car park, where PC Brereton continued to update the control room, while his colleague positioned herself at the side of the building to keep watch on the back, in case anything was thrown out of the windows.

The man came outside and pointed the gun at PC Brereton, who was just 100 yards away.  PC Brereton moved backwards away from the man, who was holding the claw hammer in his right hand and shouting incoherently. After around 30 seconds the man walked back into the flat, so PC Brereton carefully watched the front door.

A few minutes later the man came outside again and while still holding the weapons, made his way into the car park where his colleague was. PC Brereton saw his colleague was exposed and shouted for her to run, before he moved forward out into the open, drawing the man away so his colleague could move out of danger. The man was still holding the weapons, shouting incoherently at PC Brereton and was about 30 feet away from him. He repeated this behaviour several times until the firearms team arrived. At times the distance between the man and PC Brereton was as little as 12-15 feet. After being arrested, the man said he wanted to be shot by the police.

PC Brereton put the public’s safety before his own in his handling of the situation and showed extreme bravery.


Northamptonshire - Photo of claw hammer

Photo of claw hammer used to threathen PC Johnny Brereton