Two off-duty Lincolnshire Police officers who tried to foil an armed robbery have been nominated for a national Police Bravery Award.
While off-duty on 6 January 2016, Sergeants David Wilson and Iain McIvor were out with colleagues in Newark, celebrating Sergeant McIvor’s recent promotion. As they left the pub, they heard a commotion in Stodman Street which they thought could be a disorder or assault. They ran down the road to a jewellery store, where a high-powered car was outside, doors open and engine revving.
As the officers approached the store, with members of the public screaming outside, they could see an armed robbery was in progress. They approached the store entrance, which was set back off the street, down a corridor of sorts, and immediately saw a man wearing a balaclava standing with a pump action shotgun. Two more men in balaclavas ran from the store, at least one of whom was carrying a lump hammer. The offender with the shotgun turned, pointed it at the officers, and pumped the barrel, yelling “Get back or I’ll shoot”.
Sergeants McIvor and Wilson identified themselves as police officers, while being forced backwards into the street by the man with the gun. While backing away, Sergeant McIvor was within metres of the suspect carrying the shotgun. He lunged, grabbing the man in a bear-hug and began to wrestle with him, trying to get his firearm. The offender, struggling, managed to get into the getaway car, which then took off, dragging Sergeant McIvor for almost 20 metres before he was thrown out.
After ensuring the store was secured, the two officers called 999 and waited for Nottinghamshire Police to take over the scene. They looked after the traumatised shop staff until on-duty colleagues arrived.
Although confronted with armed men, the officers were able to retain enough information to help lead to the arrest of the offenders. Charges included conspiracy to commit robbery, possession of an imitation firearm with intent, and conspiracy to handle stolen goods. 11 offenders pleaded guilty at court, and a 12th was found guilty at trial.
Jon Hassall, Chair of Lincolnshire Police Federation said: “These two officers, who were off-duty, and had zero protective equipment made the heroic decision to act in the face of incredible danger. This is an incredible example of bravery in the finest traditions of the British Police Service.”