Hero Portsmouth cop saves UN colleague from mob in South Sudan
BRAVE Kelvin Shipp saved a woman's life by holding back an angry mob of 60 people when a vicious attack happened in war-torn South Sudan.
The dad-of-three and police inspector with Hampshire police was unarmed while on a year-long deployment with the UN when he found himself in a volatile situation.
A UN colleague had crashed into a motorbike rider and a crowd gathered trying to smash into her vehicle to attack and possibly murder her.
But the 55-year-old, of Southsea, came to her aid with a Dutch UN colleague.
Insp Shipp – armed with nothing other than a decade of public order experience – held the mob back until South Sudanese police arrived with AK-47s and chased off the attackers.
He said: ‘I thought “I can’t leave her here, if they get her out the car she’ll get probably quite a beating”. My guess was that they’d rape her and there was a pretty high probability they’d kill her – and it was all over a minor accident.’
Now Insp Shipp has been handed a chief constable’s commendation for his ‘brave and selfless actions’.
Insp Shipp chanced upon the crash while on a 40-minute drive to UN House on the outskirts of Juba from a displaced persons’ camp in Tomping.
Trained to ignore crashes due to the chance of a volatile mobs rapidly forming, he decided to intervene after seeing the danger his colleague was in.
‘My conservative estimate was that there were about 60 people around this vehicle,’ Insp Shipp said.
‘I thought “I can’t leave her in there”.
‘They were banging their fists on the windows, they were on the bonnet.
‘Not surprisingly the woman was in there pretty distressed on the phone.
‘I got out of the car and pushed my way through the crowd.
‘At the same time a Dutch officer arrived and he was there.
‘We were pushing these people back and then six or seven singled him out. He had to run to get away. And it left me in there with this mob.
‘They managed to smash the windscreen of this car trying to get in to this woman.
‘All I was trying to do was drag them off and push them off as best I could, getting pushed and shoved.
‘Luckily they weren’t really focused on me.’
He feared the mob would turn on him but luckily South Sudanese police arrived.
Modest Insp Shipp, formerly a neighbourhood inspector at Waterlooville, added: ‘It was quite a frightening situation.
‘I knew I was isolated, whereas here in the UK it might be frightening but you can hear on the radio the control room and units being called up.’
He was on deployment with the UN mission during the ongoing civil war in the country between September 2014 and September 2015.
Insp Shipp is one of about 100 serving police officers the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s stabilisation unit deploys to countries worldwide.
John Wallace, police function manager at the unit, said: ‘He showed a lot of courage by going out and going to the aid of a UN officer, who probably would have been lynched. They were going to cause her serious harm.’
Reading Insp Shipp’s award citation, Chief Superintendent David Hardcastle, of Hampshire police, said: ‘His actions prevented the escalation of an extremely sensitive and volatile situation.’