Northamptonshire officer shot in face receives recognition at national bravery awards
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A Northamptonshire Police officer who was shot in the face as he protected an elderly couple from a man experiencing a mental health crisis has been honoured with a Police Bravery Award.
Sergeant Dave Cayton was named the East regional winner at the Police Federation’s 2021 Police Bravery Awards, receiving his award from chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt at a ceremony in London last night, December 9.
PS Cayton beat nominees from seven other forces to clinch the award for his actions on November 20 last year, when he was deployed to an incident in Neuville Way, Desborough, to a report of a man with weapons.
When PS Cayton entered the property he put himself between the man and two elderly people, resulting in the man shooting him three times in the face with a gun which fired metal pellets. Despite his injuries the brave officer was able to disarm and arrest the man before backup arrived.
Thankfully PS Cayton recovered from his physical injuries, and in June this year the man responsible was jailed for more than 11 years.
PS Cayton, who at the time of the incident was part of the Kettering Response team, said: “It was humbling and daunting to be even nominated for an award, and even more so to see the magnitude of the event last night.
“I still don’t feel I’ve done anything brave, and it was very humbling to have the NPCC chair presenting me with the award and to meet the policing minister Kit Malthouse, but the best bit was when fellow nominees and winners came up to say well done and shake my hand. That support from others in the same boat as me really hit home and it was an honour to be in such amazing company.”
Present to see PS Cayton honoured last night were Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley and Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold.
Mr Adderley said: “I am so proud of Dave, and am over the moon his remarkable actions have been recognised at national level with this award.
“Despite finding himself potentially seriously injured in an incredibly dangerous situation, he used his courage and training to continue to tackle and arrest his attacker, ensuring a violent man was unable to harm anyone else.
“Following the court case Dave was also honoured with a judge’s commendation, and it really is the icing on the cake to see him take home the East region’s Police Bravery Award as well. I offer him my wholehearted congratulations and thank him once again for selflessly putting himself in harm’s way to help others.
“Police officers do this day in, day out, often with little thanks or appreciation, but I will never underestimate the efforts of all my officers to keep others safe as they fight crime in our county.”
Also in London for the event was Sergeant Sam Dobbs, chair of the Northamptonshire branch of the Federation, who said it was an emotional evening with an incredibly high calibre of nominations.
He added: “Running into danger, placing yourself between the threatened and the threatener, protecting people from harm and protecting life are all themes quoted as being in the best traditions of policing.
“PS Cayton embodied all these finest principles as well as showing the utmost courage when he was first on the scene of a police officer’s worst nightmare - an armed man intent on causing harm. We all salute Dave’s actions and wonder how we’d have reacted. He is a very worthy recipient of one of these fantastic awards.”