Two cops who were seriously injured after being Tasered by a violent mental health patient have spoken of their pride – after being nominated for a national bravery award.
PCs Paul Rowell and Hailey Routledge have been nominated for the prestigious Police Bravery Awards in London next month.
They had been deployed to a routine job in February to support mental health staff with the assessment of a mature student.
He was a resident in university accommodation but after being told he would be sectioned the man became violent.
The student ran at PC Routledge and a struggle ensued during which she and her colleague were able to wrestle him to the ground.
But during the struggle the man was able to grab hold of PC Rowell’s Taser and pull the trigger, leaving the officer with a barb embedded in his finger.
The man continued to fire the Taser and delivered a series of shocks to both officers – but they refused to let him go.
During the struggle PC Routledge was pushed to the ground, fracturing her kneecap, but she was able to get the man into handcuffs.
Back-up arrived and the man was taken into custody without any further injuries to mental health staff or to the patient himself.
PC Rowell was able to make a full recovery but PC Routledge’s broken knee kept her off work for three months and she still undergoes physiotherapy.
But now their courage has been recognised as they were put forward as Northumbria Police’s representatives for the prestigious awards.
They are hosted by the Police Federation of England and Wales and the ceremony will take place in London next month for the 24th time.
Speaking for the first time since the nomination was announced, the officers said they were “honoured” to be recognised for their efforts.
PC Rowell, a father-of-three, said:
“The adrenaline took over and I didn’t really feel the pain. The first shot actually went straight through the bone in my finger but I didn’t even feel it.
“It was only afterwards, when we had managed to get him in handcuffs and restrained, I could see I had been shot with the Taser.
“At that point I just felt relief, especially when our back-up arrived, because I was knackered. I had that many barbs in me I looked like a Christmas tree.
“It is nice to be recognised but myself and Hailey would both say we were just doing our job. We both have injuries but it could have been a lot worse.”
PC Routledge added:
“When I heard about the nomination I was quite shocked and I didn’t think that I was deserving of it as all the officers I work with do an outstanding job every single day.
“I am proud to be representing Northumbria Police and I am thankful that our work is being acknowledged in that way. I am quite honoured by it.
“Police officers put themselves at risk every day, that job was supposed to be a standard routine job that we get every day but it turned out to be the worst job I have ever been to.”
The pair have also been praised by Northumbria Police’s Chief Constable, Winton Keenen, and the local chair of the Police Federation.
Chief Constable Keenen, said:
“Paul and Hailey were faced with a violent and volatile offender and they showed incredible bravery to put their bodies on the line to protect the public.
“I hear of acts of bravery from police officers and staff every day but this was undoubtedly an extraordinary display of courage from them both.”
Inspector Jim Gray, Chairman of Northumbria Police Federation, said:
“The bravery and professionalism shown by both Constables Routledge and Rowell, whilst dealing with a violent individual who was posing a risk to both himself and the public, even after both officers had sustained significant injuries, continuing to place themselves in harm’s way to protect others, is in the finest traditions of Northumbria Police.
“They showed bravery in dangerous circumstances and we are very proud of them.”
The awards will take place on July 18 and will be sponsored by Police Mutual for the 11th consecutive year.