5th Dec, 2016

Warwickshire Police officer to be given bravery award after 'acid' attack

Stratford Editorial 21st Jun, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A WARWICKSHIRE Police officer who had ‘acid’ thrown in her face when she tried to confront four burglars has been nominated for a bravery award.

Sara Skinner will be recognised at the Police Bravery Awards ceremony, which take place on July 14 and is designed to honour police officers who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.

The attack on PC Skinner happened in April 2015 as she was patrolling alone on her bike near Leamington.

Having noticed a stolen BMW pull up outside an address, which had already been burgled twice that year, PC Skinner then saw three of the car’s occupants try and break into the house.

After identifying herself as a police officer, she was attacked by the group, who pushed her from her bike, kicked her and poured a burning liquid onto her face and into her eyes.

She ‘played dead’ to avoid further injury and managed to call for assistance as she was lying in the road but when police backup arrived, the stolen car sped off – driving over PC Skinner’s bike in the process.

All four members of the gang were later arrested and received jail sentences for offences ranging from conspiracy to commit burglary, to assault and kidnap.

A forensic scientist identified the liquid poured onto her face as ammonium hydroxide, which is known to cause burns.

PC Skinner is still having treatment for her injuries more than a year on from the attack.

She subsequently received a Chief Constable’s Commendation for her actions, which led to the imprisonment of a violent gang of criminals who were committing offences across the Midlands.

Simon Payne, chair of the Warwickshire Police Federation, said: “This was a horrific incident for PC Skinner and her actions are highly commendable.

“Approaching a group of criminals, while single-crewing is a scary thing, and this officer showed immense bravery, not just in attempting to stop a crime – but then managing to ‘play dead’ and not be attacked again. She deserves the utmost recognition.”

Warwickshire Chief Constable, Martin Jelley, added: “Sara showed true bravery in her actions and displayed commitment and dedication in stopping a group of men committing crime, despite the personal violence that was used against her.

“She immediately returned to work despite her injuries. This is a real example showing that police officers are ordinary people who sometimes do extraordinary things.”

And Stephen Mann, CEO of Police Mutual, said: “We are proud to continue our support for such an inspirational event in the policing calendar and to be able to show our respect for the exceptional courage shown by police officers who risk their lives every day to protect the public.”