Brave PC who tackled man with knife in Shoreham up for national award

The man was arrested near the Co-op in Shoreham. Pictures: Eddie Mitchell
The man was arrested near the Co-op in Shoreham. Pictures: Eddie Mitchell

A police officer who took down a would-be taxi thief who was wielding a knife has been nominated for a national bravery award.

PC Owen Flitton from Worthing was called to Southwick Square, Southwick, just before 7.25pm on June 27, 2016 after a report that a man had tried to steal a taxi.

The officer put his life on the line to protect the public after seeing the suspect holding a knife and successfully arrested him, police said at the time.

Click here to read our story from the time.

The awards take place in London tonight.

Catching the man was no easy task, as he had left the square following the initial report.

Despite having no immediate back-up, he began to methodically search the area, concentrating on roads and places that he believed to be most likely where the man would be.

He was located in Upper Shoreham Road, Shoreham.

READ MORE: Officers who faced down man with sword get bravery award

When PC Flitton identified himself as a police officer, the man responded that he had a firearm in his bag, police said.

He began to reach inside to take hold of it, while telling PC Flitton to ‘go away’. Recognising the increased threat PC Flitton withdrew but kept watch.

The suspect turned to run but as he did so a car pulled up alongside him. The suspect pulled a large kitchen knife from his bag, demanding that the lady driver get out of the vehicle, and give him her car, the federation spokesman said.

Despite the threats already made towards PC Flitton and the fact that he was still without any back up or support, he approached the armed suspect. Using his incapacitant spray he managed to get him to move away from the car, when he again tried to run.

PC Flitton ran after the suspect who, while still armed with the large knife, entered a shop and vaulted the counter, followed by PC Flitton.

Now in a much smaller and enclosed space, the officer was able to wrestle him to the ground, pin him down, disarm and arrest him for the various offences he had committed.

No firearm was found.

The Police Federation spokesman said: “The actions of PC Flitton displayed his bravery, dedication to duty and commitment to public service – the best traditions of the police service.”

Chief inspector Howard Hodges said at the time: “This is another example of the calibre of our staff in Sussex and the professional way in which they rise to the challenge of keeping people safe each and every day.