West Yorkshire officer who saved family from a burning home named overall Police Bravery winner

14 July 2016

A West Yorkshire officer, who entered a burning home multiple times to save a family, has been named overall winner at the Police Bravery Awards 2016.

After being named as a Region 2 (North East) winner earlier in the evening, PC Sean Cannon was also named as the overall winner for his efforts in helping save the lives of five members of the same family.

The awards, held in London and sponsored by Police Mutual, honour and recognise police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.

On 27 June 2015, PC Cannon, attending another incident at the time, became aware of a house fire nearby after hearing shouting and seeing black smoke billowing from the windows of a home. Without regard for his own safety he ran inside but was soon forced back outside due to the thick smoke. Drawing breathe he re-entered the house rescuing two frightened children from a first floor bedroom, carrying one under each arm. Running back inside a further two times he rescued a child on each occasion. Thinking the house was empty, it soon became clear that another woman was still inside, somewhere in the second floor attic room. PC Cannon ran inside once again and was able to find and escort the 59-year-old woman to safety.
In all two girls aged five and nine, two boys aged three and 13 and their great aunt were saved. All occupants received medical attention but made a full recovery.

PC Cannon was awarded a Chief Constable's Commendation for his bravery and is to be awarded a Bronze Medal from The Royal Humane Society. He was also awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Police Medal.

On receiving the award from Home Secretary Amber Rudd, PC Sean Cannon said: “It's absolutely mind blowing to win the overall award. Everyone else here tonight deserves this, I feel like I'm in very good company. I never imagined anything like this would ever happen. It could have ended so differently but as well as winning this award I'm really thankful that the family managed to get out alive."

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “In this phenomenal job that I have been asked to do I'm just a little bit in awe to hear these personal stories which will remind me of the individuals that make up this extraordinary, wonderful police service.

"I want to thank the Police Federation for this event which has made a dramatic and personable impression on me, my first event as Home Secretary."

Nick Smart, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “This was a situation in which Sean showed exceptional bravery, putting his own life at risk, to save the lives of others. The survival of those children and their great aunt is purely down to the brave and selfless actions of PC Cannon, who repeatedly put others’ safety before his own.”

Stephen Mann, CEO of Police Mutual, said: “Police Mutual is extremely proud to sponsor the Police Bravery Awards, especially on this important milestone of 21 years. The awards recognise the courage of police officers who face extremely challenging situations every day to keep the public safe. Our ongoing, long-term commitment to support these awards reflects the incredible respect we have for the work of the police service.”

Regional winners
Winners from each of our eight regions were also named on the night

Region Force nominations

Region 1


Cheshire - Woman pulled from path of HGV

Cumbria - Officer protects public from suicidal swordsman

Greater Manchester - Officer stops man from jumping from building

Lancashire - Officers rescue woman from river

Merseyside - Man saved from turbulent river

PC Dave Cameron from Cumbria Constabulary

Region 2

Cleveland - Officer rescues elderly man from house fire

Durham - Off-duty officer foils attempted robbery

Humberside - Officers wrestle armed man threatening to behead girlfriend

North Yorkshire - Officers confront frenzied knifeman

Northumbria - Off-duty officer helps prevent mid-air disaster

South Yorkshire - Officers arrest murder suspect in burning building

West Yorkshire - Officer saves family from house fire

PC Sean Cannon from West Yorkshire Police

Region 3

Staffordshire - Officers save woman from burning flat

Warwickshire - Officer violently assaulted in acid attack

West Mercia - Officer saves elderly lady from house fire

West Midlands - Officer takes on man with axe

PC Sara Skinner from Warwickshire Police

Region 4

Cambridgeshire - Officer saves driver from car blast

Derbyshire - Slashed officer in sustained knife attack

Leicestershire - Off-duty officer rescues 90-year-old from house fire

Lincolnshire - Officer prevents serious crash and saves life

Norfolk - Off-duty officer in hammer attack

Northamptonshire - Officer stabbed by sword wielder

Nottinghamshire - Off-duty officer saves suicidal woman from sea

Suffolk - Christmas Day fire rescue saves woman

PC Stuart Watson from Norfolk Constabulary

Region 5

Bedfordshire - Officers rescue woman from booby-trapped flat

Essex - Dog handler wades into high tide in sea rescue

Hampshire - Lone officer in sustained motorway attack

Kent - Off-duty officer seriously injured pursuing shoplifters

Surrey - Officers rammed in gang pursuit

Sussex - Off-duty officer tackles two armed robbers

Thames Valley - Man threatens to set himself on fire

PC Greg Montier from Sussex Police
Region 6

Avon and Somerset - Officers stop petrol station explosion

Devon and Cornwall - Officers attacked with power tools during four-hour siege

Gloucestershire - Suicidal man saved from live rail track

Wiltshire - Officer saves drowning man from lake
Acting Sergeant John Dingle and PCs Ryan Hayhurst, Jonathan Lonsdale and Rebecca Sutton-Scott-Tucker from Devon and Cornwall Police
Region 7

Dyfed-Powys - Officer saves woman from fast-flowing river

Gwent - Officer arrests knife-wielding murderer

North Wales - Officers caught in pub fire chaos

South Wales - Officer in domestic violence standoff

Sgt David Steer from Dyfed-Powys Police
Region 8

Met 1 - Unconscious man rescued from flat fire

Met 2 - Detectives rescue baby and three-year-old from raging fire

Met 3 - Off-duty officer confronts knifeman

PC Ian Molineaux