Hackney cops' bravery hailed after turbulent year of acid attacks, knife crime and 'truly horrendous incidents'
PUBLISHED: 16:47 25 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:47 25 April 2018
"When I saw the knife coming at me, there was only got a split second to react," Pc Trevor Wellington told the Gazette.
Trevor was one of 50 police officers commended for his exceptional bravery and professionalism at an award ceremony held at Aviva’s digital garage in Hoxton Square on Thursday.
He was driving in Matthias Road, Stoke Newington, in September, when and his colleague Pc Lauren-Marie Voase were flagged down because of a fight.
A young boy lying on the ground had been hurt, and while they attended to him they saw a man break into a house and followed him in. But the supposed victim also came in, grabbed a knife from the kitchen and lunged at Trevor.
“He was looking like a deranged madman with blood coming from him and the knife in his hand,” said the dad-of-three. “It’s crazy because we went there to help him and then he switched and turned on us. Every situation you go to can go wrong.“ Trevor and Lauren-Marie managed to detain both suspects.
Simon Laurence, who left as Hackney’s borough commander last month to lead the police response to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, returned for the ceremony – the last before Hackney merges with Tower Hamlets.
“I am proud and humbled to say thank you,” he said. “We have had an eventful year and there have been some firsts. We have dealt with a number of tragedies this year too. It offers insight to some of the most truly horrendous incidents you would never want to see at all.”
Six officers called to the traumatic scene in Wilberforce Road, Finsbury Park, in March 2017 – where Bidhya Sagar Das killed his son with a hammer – were also commended.
Det Const Matthew Freeman and Det Const Ben Payne were commended for their investigative ability after a women was sexually assaulted and stabbed 10 times in Rectory Road, Stoke Newington in April. They managed to link the attack to a man living at a nearby hostel. “Their action and local knowledge ensured crucial evidence was seized,” said Det Supt Claire Crawley.
The acid attack launched by Arthur Collins’ in London Fields nightclub Mangle E8 was one of the crimes which marked a turbulent year for policing in Hackney.
Officers’ work responding to the unprecedented incident, which saw 27 revellers maimed by the corrosive substance, became a “benchmark for how emergency services respond to acid attacks”. A team of 31 officers were commended for their work dealing with the aftermath and the investigation, which involved tracking down Collins in a cross border man hunt – in the biggest list of commendations ever seen in Hackney for the same case.
“It could have fallen to serious crime unit and it would have been given a lot more resources, but with our local staff we did a brilliant job,” said Det Supt Claire Crawley who handed out the awards.
Collins, 25, of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, convicted of ABH and GBH with intent and sentenced to 20 years in prison following their eight-month investigation.