Police acts of bravery celebrated at Tower of London ceremony

Acts of bravery and dedication by Tower Hamlets police officers were recognised at a commendation ceremony at the Tower of London this morning.

Officers who dealt with the horrific stabbing of Oliver Hemsley in Bethnal Green in 2008, with an anti-social Poplar family described as “neighbours from hell” and with a man brandishing two knifes in a Mile End street were amongst those commended for their service.

Borough Commander Det Chief Supt Paul Rickett was joined by Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, and John Biggs, the London Assembly member for City and East, in praising Tower Hamlets police.

Mr Rickett said: “This is one of the most enjoyable things I have to do as borough commander.”

He highlighted the support provided by families of officers and also revealed that a second ceremony will be held in the New Year to recognise “outstanding bravery” during the summer riots.

He said: “That is the nature of policing.

“We never know what the next call is going to be.”

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Det Sgt Glen Smith described how he and colleagues worked to secure the conviction of Nazrul Islam, then 15, who stabbed fashion student Oliver Hemsley leaving him paralysed from the neck down.

He said the attacker was on an “ego trip”.

Mr Smith said: “At the end of the day, no property was taken from Oliver.

“It was purely and simply because he was walking down the road.”

PC Mark Perry, two other officers and staff from housing association Poplar HARCA were recognised for their role in tackling a nuisance family, described as “neighbours from hell” by Chief Insp Steven Manger.

And community support officer Angela Cox was applauded for bravely handling a distressed man holding two knives and threatening to kill himself while she was on a solo patrol in Longnor Road in July 2010.

She said: “I was very scared to be quite honest but in those situations you have to keep a calm outward demeanour.

“But my voice was very shaky.”

Ms Ali said: “I would say that Tower Hamlets police officers are the best in the country and this day highlights that.

“It is really wonderful to celebrate with you in a year that has been very difficult and challenging.

“The riots and the EDL (English Defence League) march – these are two valuable examples of how we worked together as politicians, police officers and community members.”

To read more about the acts of bravery and hard work by Tower Hamlets police, pick up your copy of The Docklands & East London Advertiser on Thursday.