A JUDGE has commended a police officer who sprung into action when a man pulled a knife at a Remembrance Sunday parade.
Robert Smith was suffering from poor mental health when he got out a knife in front of terrified people who had gone along to pay their respects in Havant.
You clearly frightened members of the public who were present to watch the parade and the fact that you had a knife on you would have caused great concernRecorder William Ashworth
Smith, 30, of Stakes Road, Waterlooville, pulled the knife as the parade passed in Brockhampton Lane near his home in 2013.
Christopher Wing, prosecuting, said special constable Lana Owen told Smith to calm down as he approached the 900-strong crown.
Mr Wing said: ‘He emerged on the street waving a knife, approached a police officer, put the knife down and returned back into his address.
‘CCTV did show people stepping back alarmed to see his presence with a knife.’
Recorder William Ashworth praised the officer.
Sentencing Smith for affray and for unrelated flashing at Portsmouth Crown Court, Mr Ashworth said: ‘When the affray took place in Waterlooville you were very ill and your mind was deceiving you. You clearly frightened members of the public who were present to watch the parade and the fact that you had a knife on you would have caused great concern.
‘The officer that confronted you did a very good job to de-escalate the situation and you threw down the knife and immediately left the scene.’
He added: ‘That officer needs to be noted as having some courage.’
Lana Owen, who is no longer a special constable but works for Hampshire police, said: ‘This case demonstrates the important work that special constables undertake to assist frontline officers.
‘I’m pleased that my actions can help to highlight the role played by volunteers in helping the public.’
Such officers are volunteers and work with employed officers. They have the same powers as a regular officer and wear the same uniform.
Tim Lucas, extended police family supervisor, said: ‘Special constables are a valuable resource helping to deliver high visibility and community policing.’
Smith also admitted three matters of exposure. One related to him exposing himself during a sex act in a sauna room in Waterlooville Leisure Centre on April 9.
He also dropped his trousers in front of people in the street twice, the court heard.
Mr Ashworth said: ‘The offences of exposure you can understand would have been deeply distressing to people who would have somewhat confined in the space they were in.’
The court heard Smith was hearing voices in his head.
Mr Ashworth: ‘It’s clear you have been struggling for years with your mental health problems.’