Police are honoured for bravery when facing Portsmouth gunman

PC Barry Watson receiving the commendation from chief constable OIivia Pinkney
PC Barry Watson receiving the commendation from chief constable OIivia Pinkney

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THREE police officers have been honoured for disarming a gunman.

PC Barry Watson, PC Geoffrey Speak and PC Sarah Catton have been given a Chief Constable’s Commendation for their ‘true professionalism, bravery and compassion to protect the public’.

In July last year, police were called to an address in Portsmouth following reports of a vulnerable man trying to kill himself.

PC Watson arrived first and was confronted with a man pointing a black pistol directly at him.

A police spokesman said PC Watson took cover behind a vehicle and despite the frightening situation, remained calm and measured as he provided precise commentary of what was happening to his colleagues.

PC Speak and PC Catton soon arrived and despite the firearms threat, PC Speak decided to approach the address to help his colleague and protect the public.

As he did this, the man spotted him and turned his gun on PC Speak. Undeterred, PC Speak took cover behind another vehicle and started negotiations with the man.

As the negotiations continues, PC Catton set up a cordon to protect residents.

Eventually PC Speak got the man to put down the gun, allowing armed officers to detain him safely.

As they waited for an ambulance, PC Speak and PC Catton stayed with the man, keeping him calm.

Despite what had happened, the pair remained supportive and understanding towards the man as they cared for him before paramedics arrived.

Paul Smith, 48, of Lower Forbury Road, Portsmouth, was jailed for 32 months in November for possession of an imitation firearm.

Among the other awards, Det Insp Paul Masters was honoured for work that has seen him harness the latest in technology and cyber advances to help catch sex offenders and human traffickers, and Sgt Aaron Freemantle of Portsmouth was given a long service and good conduct award, as were PC Alistair Longworth and Insp Darren Ord from the Roads Policing Unit.