Police 'amazing' & 'inspiring' says Nick Knowles at Bravery Awards

15 July 2016

Nick Knowles with the Devon and Cornwall Bravery Award winners

Nick Knowles with the Devon and Cornwall Bravery Award winners

DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles has hailed four Devon and Cornwall police officers as “just amazing” after they were crowned regional winners at the PFEW Police Bravery Awards last night (Thursday 14 July).

The TV presenter was sat on the same table as the quartet who were honoured for their actions in a horrific attack where an angle grinder and other power tools were used against them.  Acting Sergeant John Dingle and PCs Ryan Hayhurst, Jonathan Lonsdale and Rebecca Sutton-Scott-Tucker received the south west regional award at the annual event at the Dorchester Hotel in London.

Responding to a call for help from a member of the public in relation to a disturbance at an address in Kingsbridge, the officers identified a suspect and attempted to talk to him through the entrance of his ground floor flat – which they were unaware was booby-trapped.

On being invited in, two officers were confronted with a powered angle grinder and subjected to a violent attack.  The other two officers arrived to help, putting the safety of their colleagues ahead of their own.

Nick Knowles said: “Their story is extraordinary – and it’s a bit of a poke in the eye for them, they get attacked by a man with power tools and then they get Nick Knowles from DIY SOS on their table, as if they hadn’t been through enough DIY-related things!

When recalling the incident, one of the first officers on the scene, PC Ryan Hayhurst joked: “My instant reaction was I’m going to get killed by Bob the Builder, and that’s not a good way to go!”

Nick continued: “We were having a bit of a laugh about that but it’s gallows humour really because when you think about what they went through, they were totally set up, they were set a trap and it was their professionalism and strength as a team which meant they managed to get themselves all out of there without one of them losing their lives.

“It’s truly awe-inspiring to be here this evening and especially to be sat on a table with the Devon and Cornwall crew who are just amazing – and I will definitely be popping down for a cup of tea, although I think I’m buying.”

It was subsequently learnt that the offender was suffering from mental illnesses. He was charged and convicted of two counts of assault causing grievous bodily harm, and has been sentenced to be held indefinitely  at the high security psychiatric unit Broadmoor Hospital.

A total of 69 police officers from 41 forces received awards, with a total of eight regional winners being picked and one overall national winner – West Yorkshire’s PC Sean Cannon who rescued five people from a house fire.

Nick was among special guests at the event and believes the role police officers play cannot be understated.  He said: “It’s amazing that we can come to events like this and support this.  It points out what the police do for us and it’s also incumbent on the rest of us in society to not wait for heroic deeds like this before we say thank you to the police for putting their lives on the line.  It doesn’t bear thinking about – and then people have the nerve to talk about whether they are paid enough – you can’t pay these people enough.

“It’s inspiring and it’s up to the rest of us in society to stand up and say thank you and say how much we admire and respect what they do, which gives the rest of us the chance to go about our daily lives.

“I’ve done a lot of programmes about the police and for me it’s always about trying to show the person behind the uniform.  They’ve probably got a wife or husband or kids at home who are worried about them, the uniform is actually being worn by someone who could be your brother or your sister and we need to think about the dedication they show.”

More information on the awards