Police commendations: awards for hero cop and brave passer-by

Ben Wallis and PC Martin East

Published: 29 March 2012

A POLICE officer who gave chase despite being punched so hard in the face that his cheekbone broke has been honoured for his bravery.

PC Martin East was given a certificate at the borough commander’s commendation ceremony at the Town Hall on Friday. Ben Wallis, a member of the public who joined in the pursuit, also received an award.

PC East stopped and searched a man behaving suspiciously by Camden Lock on August 10 last year, just two days after the riots, and discovered a knife. Suddenly the suspect launched a “ferocious attack” – with one blow smashing PC East’s cheekbone.

Undeterred, he chased the suspect to Castlehaven Road where Mr Wallis, from Epping, joined the pursuit.

He had been cycling in the area with his girlfriend after picking up a totem-pole fancy dress costume for a party later that night when he spotted the suspect.

Mr Wallis said: “I grabbed him and shoved him against a wall, and then I pushed him to the ground and kept him there.

"I’m not the sort of person that is going to see something like that and just let it go if I think I can help.

“But I was really aware that he could hit me so I dodged him quite well.

"I don’t think the police saw I had chased him quite so far so I think they were quite surprised when they arrived and saw that I had him on the ground.”

His girlfriend Victoria said she was proud of her boyfriend but urged him to be careful when playing the vigilante.

“I was screaming but then I got a look from Ben and I realised that he was determined he was going to help,” she said.

“So I shut up then.”

Dozens of Camden police officers and brave members of the public were saluted for their efforts over the past six months at the bi-annual awards.

In a year dominated by last summer’s riots, among those honoured was Serial 229, a group of Camden officers detailed to the riots in Tottenham and Hackney, where they confronted 300 youths armed with bricks, masonry, scaffolding and petrol bombs.

Other stories of bravery revealed how a massive crystal meth and cocaine drugs ring was busted by undercover work and how three cab office workers disarmed a man who had just violently stabbed his girlfriend and chased her into their office.

Police community support officer Karen Monaghan, from Highgate’s Safer Neighbourhoods Team, was honoured for years of loyal service.

Her achievements have ranged from tracking down imitation firearms to arranging a police helicopter flyover to provide a Highgate Festival highlight for children.


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