TWO police officers who bravely arrested an armed man who then injured them, say they never considered leaving the job they love.
Tim Willett and Darren Brimacombe were on patrol in normally tranquil Princetown on Dartmoor when they found themselves thrown into a horrific situation with a violent man threatening and attacking them with a knife. They were both wounded, with Darren suffering life-threatening bleeding needing an emergency tourniquet.
Both were nominated for a National Police Bravey Award for their actions in removing a violent man off the streets and protecting his partner in the process.
The two are now off the beat and on other roles, having decided they both needed a change after many years on the front line in West Devon, both Tavistock and Okehampton.
However, this change was not as a result of the attack and both are as committed as ever to policing, despite the wounds and trauma they suffered.
Tim said he was helped through the aftermath of the attack by his immediate bosses at Devon and Cornwall Police, the Police Federation and his family, notably his wife Ellie: ”At no time did it enter my mind to stop policing and to leave the job. It’s a long-term career for me. I love policing and the incident has not changed my mind that it was always the best choice of job for me. Ellie supported me through dealing with the attack. She knows better than to suggest I might give it up. If I wanted to do that she’d be the first to know.”
He said the attack and the pair’s response was typical of policing across the country: “There are hundreds of similar incidents every day and the public don’t get to hear about most of them, unless they come to court maybe or officers get awards. We just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time for our personal safety, but we were able to protect the public which is our aim. Princetown, like most of rural Devon is quiet, but there are always a minority who are aggressive to us, but not usually as bad as this was. But I still miss the being on the streets to some extent. I enjoy being a police officer too much to give it up.”
Darren has moved to a training role after the attack in which he was nearly blinded and lost a lot of blood from the stabbings. His ordeal has been turned into a positive with his experiences used in training new recruits. He said: “I never wanted to leave the police, despite what happened. I was lucky I wasn’t blinded. But I did lose a lot of blood from my arm — the emergency tourniquet probably helped saved my life.”
He thanked his family for supporting him through the trauma: “My wife Kate and family and my work have all been very supportive. Although I didn’t want to leave the police, there were, very rightly, questions from my family when they saw me with all the wounds. They did want to know if it was worth the risk. So,it was a collective decision with the family, that after 18 years on the front line, including as a response team with Tim, it was time for a change. Although there is official help, me and Tim also chose mutual support as a way of getting over the trauma.”