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GMP officer who tackled gunman wins regional bravery award

Helen Newlove with PC Robert Shakespeare

[A] police officer from Greater Manchester Police who single-handedly tackled an armed teenager has won a bravery award.

PC Rob Shakespeare was named as the Region 1 (North West) winner at the 22nd National Police Bravery Awards in London, after he chased a youth armed with a firearm in Heaton Chapel, Stockport.

The awards, sponsored by Police Mutual, honour and recognise police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery.

On 15 June 2016, PC Shakespeare was developing intelligence on another matter when a call came over the radio concerning a teenager wearing a balaclava cycling around the area. All the callers reported that they believed he had a firearm.

PC Shakespeare saw the youth in a food takeaway shop, threatening staff with a firearm, before getting on a push bike and cycling off. The officer followed in his car, and saw that the youth was holding a handgun.

With genuine concerns for the public, PC Shakespeare took positive action, clipping the wheel of the cycle, and then running after him. Despite twice having the gun pointed at him, PC Shakespeare continued to pursue the teenager, eventually tackling him to the ground after he discarded the weapon, which later turned out to be an imitation handgun.

On receiving the award from Baroness Helen Newlove, PC Robert Shakespeare said:  “it wasn’t the most appropriate method to deal with it [he knocked the gunman off his bike with his car] but I just used what  I had to hand.”

But he denied he was a hero : “Everybody here at the awards is just so impressive that I really didn’t expect to win this award – it was just a case of ‘you have got to do what you have to do to resolve it.’ “

He said he had been shot at before, and stabbed – and in fact still bore the scars. “It’s just part of what we what we do.”

Modest PC Shakespeare added: “It’s been difficult in the past because I try not to tell my seven-year old daughter too much but when she heard I was up for this award, she said she wasn’t surprised. She’ll be so proud and wants to put it on her mantelpiece, I expect.”

Ian Hanson, chair of Greater Manchester Police Federation, said: “PC Shakespeare has shown exceptional courage in chasing a man who he believed was armed. He put the safety of the public ahead of his own, and is incredibly deserving of this bravery award.”

Stephen Mann, CEO of Police Mutual, said: “Every nominee at this year’s awards has shown outstanding courage and thoroughly deserves to be recognised. Your continued bravery helps ensure that millions of people in our country are kept safe, which is perhaps more important than ever given recent events across the world. This is why we proudly continue to support this event.”

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