Essex Police officers receive bravery award

The two unarmed police officers who faced down a murderer armed with a foot-long carving knife have been given a bravery award.

Essex Police said that PC Ryan Curtis and PC Scott James were awarded the Merit Star – the force's highest accolade – in a private ceremony in November for their actions in arresting Sir David Amess's killer Ali Harbi Ali.

The two constables, who are both on the South LPA Disruptor team, were on their way back from arresting a wanted man on 15 October 2021 when they heard reports on their radio of a stabbing at the Belfairs Methodist Church at around 12pm. They immediately headed to the scene to help.

The pair arrived on scene at the church in Eastwood Road North, within minutes where distressed members of the public told them Sir David was lying injured inside along with a still armed Ali. Both officers, who were in plain clothes due to the nature of their role, were unarmed and had only their police batons and incapacitant spray for protection. Although colleagues were on their way, the nearest armed unit was still five-minutes away, leading the pair to take the brave decision to enter the church in a bid to help Sir David and contain the suspect.

Following the arrest of Ali, the actions of PCs James and Curtis cleared the way for paramedics and four other Essex Police officers to get safely into the church and administer first aid to a dying Sir David.

An Old Bailey jury has found that 26-year-old Ali guilty of Amess’ murder and preparing acts of terrorism.


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