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Royal Naval Police Officer bravery award

7 March 2016
Royal Navy Police Officer John Hewitt has received a Provost Marshal (Navy) commendation for bravery in the face of real adversity during an incident in Plymouth involving a violent male who was drowning.

John, a Leading Regulator based at RN Police HQ (Western) HM Naval Base, Devonport, was working with Devon & Cornwall Police in the early evening when he received a report of a vulnerable man who had jumped into Sutton Harbour.

While he was being helped by John and another officer, the man turned violent.

The head of Royal Navy Police, Commander Tony Day, presented the award at the force Western Area HQ in Devonport. 

You placed your own safety at risk in order to safeguard the person you were trying to assist.

Commander Tony Day RN

He said John showed great courageousness and disregard for his own safety: “You placed your own safety at risk in order to safeguard the person you were trying to assist. 

“I am very proud of you.  This is exactly the type of response we expect of a Royal Navy Police Officer on duty.’’

Police were called because there were real concerns the man could potentially drown or suffer from hypothermia. 

Paul helped an inspector from Devon and Cornwall Police, who was trying to communicate with the man who had been in the water for 30 minutes.

After a long period of negotiation and with the assistance of the MOD Police boat, the man was removed from the water and helped onto the pontoon by John and the inspector. 

Both officers tried to detain the man when he became violent while being helped. 

Without fear for his own safety John assisted the inspector with the male who was increasingly violent and tried to pull police officers with him back into the water. 

During the incident John was assaulted by the male who spat directly into his face and mouth, but despite this, the officer remained professional and continued to restrain the male, but mindful of the man’s welfare at all times. 

The detainee was handed to the custody of Devon and Cornwall Police.

John, 33, of Plymouth, said: “It is really good to be appreciated for something like this, though I know many of my colleagues in the branch regularly have similar very unpleasant and violent experiences. 

“We sometimes have to cope with very difficult situations.  But I’m proud to have this commendation.’’

The citation states ‘Leading Regulator Hewitt is recommended for a Provost Marshal (Navy) Commendation for his outstanding professionalism, self-control and courageousness in the face of real adversity’.

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