Police Bravery Awards 2022: An 'incredible' day with 'real life heroes'
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"It was an event for the police and to celebrate everything we do on a daily basis - which turns out is an infinite amount of goodness," is how PC Rachel Paterson summed up the Police Bravery Awards.
PC Paterson was one of 76 nominees from 39 forces to be honoured at the ceremony, which is held annually and this year took place in London on Thursday 14 July.
Prior to gathering for the ceremony, Rachel joined her fellow nominees at Downing Street in recognition of their service and bravery.
Rachel was nominated after saving the life of a woman who was threatening to jump from a bridge over a dual carriageway in Telford.
PC Paterson was first to arrive on the scene and held onto the woman’s legs and ankles to prevent her falling.
PC Paterson, who has been an officer with West Mercia Police for two years, was then joined by an off-duty officer who helped get the woman back over the railings to safety.
West Mercia Chief Constable Pippa Mills said of the officer's bravery: "PC Rachel Paterson represents the very best traditions of policing, having selflessly and instinctively acted heroically to save someone’s life.
"It was great to have the opportunity to congratulate her in person at her well-deserved awards ceremony – I’m proud of her."
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion added: "PC Rachel Paterson went above and beyond to save the life of a woman who was threatening to jump from a bridge to a dual carriageway.
“On behalf of the victim, and our wider communities, we are extremely grateful for the actions of PC Paterson, and of the many every day heroes in West Mercia.
“We must remember these are ordinary people with lives and families outside of work, who do extraordinary things to keep others safe. I am very pleased to see them getting the recognition they deserve.”
After visiting Downing Street, Rachel joined the Chief, the PCC and the Police Federation branch chair, Sarah Cooper, for the awards ceremony itself.
PC Paterson said of the evening: “It's hard to sum up what an incredible day yesterday was into words. From having canapés in Downing Street to meeting real life heroes, it was surreal from start to finish.
“Listening to the mind-blowing acts of bravery and selflessness was breathtaking and I was so incredibly proud to be in the same room as these people, let alone be nominated.
“It was an event for the police and to celebrate everything we do on a daily basis - which turns out is an infinite amount of goodness.
“We also celebrated our family and friends who support us on a daily basis when they have no idea what they are coming home to. Whether that be a good day or a bad day."
Rachel also had this to say for anyone thinking of joining the police as a career, be that as an officer or within the support staff.
“If you are thinking of joining the police, then please come and join us. I couldn't ask for a better second family than my shift on Team C at Telford and the policing family in general.
“Every day is different and challenges you in new ways, ways in which I've seen my colleagues achieve truly incredible things and help the public in ways I don't think they realised that we could.
“I've seen many things but the tenacity of the police as a whole to leave an incident better in which they arrived is what I'm most proud of being a police officer for, we all love helping people and last night celebrated the highest calibre of acts of true bravery.”
The overall winner this year of the national bravery award was PC Steven Denniss, from Lincolnshire; while the West Midlands took the regional police bravery award.
Has Rachel's experience as a police officer inspired you? Do you enjoy facing challenges and solving problems and would like to help keep your community safe while developing a range of skills? Then policing could be for you.
West Mercia Police is currently recruiting new police officers, and you can find out more by visiting our careers pages.