Bravery award for Barnsley police officer who stopped stick-wielding thug

Sergeant Christopher Foster of South Yorkshire Police
Sergeant Christopher Foster of South Yorkshire Police
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A lone police sergeant who confronted an attacker found viciously beating a man with a stick has been honoured for his bravery.

Christopher Foster from South Yorkshire Police was alone on patrol in Barnsley in the middle of a snowstorm in the early hours of January 21 this year when he found the thug smashing at his victim, who was curled up on the ground.

The attacker then pointed what looked like a gun at the sergeant, threatening to shoot him, and the officer pepper-sprayed him, but it had no effect.

The man tried to hit Mr Foster with his stick, but was brought under control when he was pepper-sprayed for a second time and later arrested.

The officer was among the winners at this year’s Police Federation annual bravery awards which took place last night at a ceremony in central London. He won the North East regional award, while Stephen Brown, a police sergeant who single-handedly confronted a sword-wielding attacker, won the national award for bravery.

Brown found himself in a terrifying struggle with a knifeman who tried to slash his face and neck with the samurai sword on Christmas Eve 2012.

The chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Steve White, said: “I am constantly humbled and amazed by the selfless acts of bravery carried out by police officers on a day-to-day basis.

“For every act of courage and bravery recognised in the Police Bravery Awards there are hundreds more that occur in our communities every day that go unrecognised.”

Mr Foster, who was a PC at the time of his act of bravery in Barnsley, was presented with the award by Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary.

He said of his award: “People are doing this day in and day out. To be singled out makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. So I would like to accept this award for the benefit of all of them.”

Deputy Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police Andy Holt said: “We’re delighted that Sergeant Foster has received national recognition for an incredibly courageous act.

“The modesty he has shown in receiving this award is testament to his character but Chris demonstrated selfless bravery on that cold January morning and is a worthy recipient of the award.

“Police in South Yorkshire and across the country put themselves in potentially dangerous situations every day and are a credit to the service.”

Others winners last night included Constable John Harrison and Sergeant Gareth Davies, from North Wales Police, who were called to find an armed man who had barricaded himself into a conference room at the Guildhall in Wrexham, claiming to have a bomb.