PC Craig Davies and PC Richard O'Connell
The officers who tackled an angry knife-man at a dramatic domestic incident.
In the early hours of Sunday morning in May, the police started to receive worrying reports from residents of a street in Tadcaster. A man, seemingly in a drink or drug-fuelled rage, was ripping up fence-posts and making threats to kick in a door and kill a woman in one of the nearby properties. Reports suggested he was holding a knife. As the officers on duty, PC Davies and PC O’Connell quickly headed right into the heart of scene.
What they found was every bit as bad as the calls had suggested. The man – 6ft tall and heavily built – was standing in the doorway, brandishing a knife above his head, ready to stab anyone who came near.
As Richard O’Connell explains, “There was lots of screaming and shouting. The man was covered in blood and clearly was up for a fight. To be honest I thought we could be walking in on a murder scene.”
PC Craig Davies agrees. “There was blood on the man, and blood on the walls. We just didn’t know what we might be facing.”
The officers approached cautiously and ordered him to disarm. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the man did not oblige. It was obvious that the situation could potentially turn very ugly, and the officers were concerned that there may be a potential victim needing help that they hadn’t yet been able to get to. With that in their thoughts, and unable to wait to back-up to arrive, TASER-trained PC Craig Davies decided that it was a moment to put that training to use.
Such was the size and aggression of the man that even though the TASER was deployed, the officers still had to grapple him on the ground, helped by a local resident, before they could fully disarm and subdue him.
As is sometimes the case, not everyone watching the police tackling a situation is helpful. During their efforts to restrain the knife-man, the officers found themselves under attack by his partner, who hurled wine bottles at them as they worked to gain control of the situation until back-up arrived.
A modest man who is nearing the end of his service, PC O’Connell chalks such dangerous incidents up to experience. “He was a big guy, who really didn’t like the police, and we obviously caught him on a bad day. It was just one of those jobs that happen.”
PC Davies also has a “take it in your stride” attitude. He said, “Even when reinforcements arrived and we managed to put the man in a police van to go to custody, he was still being incredibly aggressive. It was a very physical encounter – quite a weird incident really – but interesting in its way!”
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