2022 Winner


PC Simon Toft and PC Alicia Snowden

Officers tackled a violent man armed with a meat cleaver who was terrorising a GP surgery.

PC Toft and PC Snowden, a trainee officer, were first on the scene at the medical centre in Stockport where Michael Brannigan was armed with three kitchen knives and a meat cleaver and threatening to stab staff and patients. Terrified receptionists had locked themselves in consultation rooms while a doctor held a door shut and tried to reason with Brannigan, who had robbed a pharmacy and attacked a stranger minutes earlier. 

“He had taken the staff and the doctor at the medical centre hostage and was on a rampage,” recalls PC Toft. “Alicia and I were just around the corner and I had no time to brief her. She was on the last day of five weeks training, and this was the first conflict she’d ever attended. All I said to her was, you keep me safe and I’ll keep you safe.”

At first PC Toft thought Brannigan was a patient until he lunged towards him with a metal pole. PC Snowden saw he was also armed with knives and yelled out a warning. 

At that point PC Toft fired his Taser, but Brannigan simply dropped the pole and ripped the two barbs from his chest.

Without hesitation, PC Snowden lunged towards him, kicked the pole away and struck him to the ground giving PC Toft the chance to fire his Taser at Brannigan for a further 19 seconds before PC Snowden helped overpower him.

PC Snowden says: “It was the first major incident I had attended and but luckily everything just came naturally to me.”

Greater Manchester Police Federation Chair Stu Berry said: “This was a dangerous, dynamic and escalating situation and for Alicia in particular it was so soon into her service as a police officer. She deserves high praise for how she handled herself and her actions that day. As does Simon – for both his outstanding police work and how he cared and guided his colleague.”

Brannigan later admitted weapons offences and assault and was jailed for three years.