A POLICE sergeant has spoken of the moment a man with two guns shot at him and a colleague.
Dyfed-Powys Police Sergeant Philip Edwards was commended for his professionalism and bravery at a ceremony on Tuesday, January 28.
Sgt Edwards, of Welshpool police station, was responding to a concern for the welfare of a man near Lake Vyrnwy when he was fired at and threatened with a sawn off shotgun.
Despite his and a colleague’s lives being at risk, they maintained observations on the man and provided critical information to the Force Communication Centre, contributing to the safe resolution of the incident.
Sergeant Philip Edwards and Chief Constable Mark Collins
Looking back, Sgt Edwards said: “We were responding to a call reporting a concern for the welfare of the man, from a GP who hadn’t heard from him. We gave him a ring and said we’d call up – there was no issue over the phone.
“We left the car down the lane, and I was saying how nice it was to be out in the fresh air after a few years working in custody. It was a beautiful January day and we could see Lake Vyrnwy in the distance.
“We had to climb over a fence to get in, and as we came up to the house he was standing in front of us. He was about four to five metres away from us, and as I said ‘hello’, I could see he had a revolver in one hand and a sawn off shotgun in the other.
“He pointed it straight at us and shot. I was frozen on the spot, but I remember feeling quite calm – we weren’t panicked.
“He must have squeezed the trigger twice as we heard two bangs. At that point I got my wits back and we ran off. We jumped back over the gate, which must have been about 7ft tall – I don’t remember how we got over it, but we somehow did, and radioed for assistance.”
Within minutes, there was a full police presence at the scene including firearms units and the NPAS helicopter, while negotiators spoke to him over the phone. The incident lasted over three hours
“We could hear shots being fired, and later found out he was shooting at the helicopter,” Sgt Edwards said.
“He eventually collapsed, and armed response officers went in to get the weapons off him. Later searches found an AK47, a grenade and a sword – he was well armed.
“Once my adrenaline had calmed down I was quite shaken. The realisation that he did have a sawn off shotgun, and that if he’d shot that at us we would have been killed was quite shocking.
“People have said it’s the first time in decades an officer at Dyfed-Powys Police has been shot at, and it just happened to be us.”
Also commended for his part in the incident, was tactical adviser PC Emyr Thomas, of the joint firearms unit. His role was to advise officers at the scene how to respond.
He said: “It was stressful because when you’re away from an incident, you want to be helping the boys and girls on the ground. We were away from it, and had to stay calm so we could give the best advice we could.
“By not being on scene you look at things differently. You can see the bigger picture in terms of what units are available, and what tactics might work. The tactical adviser makes important decisions that impact officers on the ground – there’s a huge amount of risk, but ultimately we’re doing all we can to bring it to a safe conclusion, and on this occasion we were very relieved when it ended with nobody being harmed.”
Sgt Philips and PC Thomas were joined by Chief Inspector Clark Jones-John, PC Stephen Davies, PC Mark Thomas, PC Peter Evans, DS Paul Roberts, PC Caroline Roberts-Simcock, Inspector Ashley Brice, South Wales Police officers PC Carl Harris, PC Robert Miller, PC Julian Knoyle and PC Stephen Fox, and NPAS officers Sgt Scott Gallagher MBE, PC Robert Massam and Captain Robert Grainger in being commended.