Police officer who tackled man wielding two samurai swords in Crawley recognised for bravery

The Sussex Police West Sussex Divisional Awards - PS Ben Websdale, who saved his colleague after the pair were attacked by a man brandishing samurai swords, receiving his award from the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Mrs Denise Patterson SUS-150721-122351001
The Sussex Police West Sussex Divisional Awards - PS Ben Websdale, who saved his colleague after the pair were attacked by a man brandishing samurai swords, receiving his award from the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Mrs Denise Patterson SUS-150721-122351001

A police officer who tackled a man who was wielding two samurai swords and threatening to cut his head off has been recognised for his bravery.

The Sussex Police West Sussex Divisional Awards was held in Arundel Castle on Monday.

Police officers, PCSOs, volunteers and members of the community who have saved lives, averted disasters and put dangerous criminals behind bars were honoured.

The ceremony heard how Sergeant Ben Websdale and a colleague were called to an address in Crawley In 2012 after reports of a domestic incident.

When the front door opened they were met with a man running towards them brandishing a samurai sword in each hand.

Sgt Websdale said: “He was under the influence of drink and drugs and claiming he was going to cut our heads off

“We were unable to retreat. My colleague slipped over, injuring his arm and the suspect got closer.”

Sgt Websdale was forced to use CS spray but it had ‘little effect’.

He added: “It ended up being a stand-off. He was undoubtedly going to cause harm to someone.

“At the time you don’t think about it but afterwards you think it’s one of those rare occasions when your life nearly ended.”

PC Mike Butler said had it not been for Sgt Websdale, his children would be without a father.

“He’s my hero. Had it not been for this lovely man, my beautiful children might not have a father.”

Also honoured was retiring Crawley Sgt Jonathan Bryant, who is leaving the force this month after 30 years service.

Sgt Bryant was awarded for saving a 24-year-old man who suffered a cardiac arrest while playing football.

Despite being unresponsive to treatment, Sgt Bryant took over CPR and established a heart beat.

The young man was taken to hospital where he made a full recovery.

Presenting the award, Chief Inspector Justina Beeken said: “Jon Bryant’s strong leadership dedication and professionalism has been an example to us all. It’s been a privilege and an honour to work with him.”

Crawley PCSO Tracey Collyer was praised for her ‘excellent working knowledge of her area in Crawley’.

She was awarded after preventing a ‘large scale’ fight between two groups earlier this year.

Chief Inspector Justina Beeken Beeken said PCSO Collyer went ‘above and beyond her duty, showing continued commitment and dedication to the area’.

Chief Superintendent Steve Whitton said: “I never cease to be amazed at the work police officers do to protect the public, often putting themselves at significant risk.”

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