A Warwickshire Police officer who had ‘acid’ thrown into her face when she tried to stop four burglary suspects has been nominated for a Police Bravery Award.
Constable Sara Skinner will be recognised at the 21st Police Bravery Awards on 14 July.
The awards honour and recognise police officers who performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty, and are sponsored by Police Mutual.
The attack happened when PC Skinner was patrolling alone on her bicycle in Lillington in April 2015.
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 to break into the house.
Identifying herself as a police officer, she was instantly attacked by the offenders who pushed her from her bike, kicked her and poured a burning liquid onto her face and into her eyes while she ‘played dead’ to avoid further injury.
PC Skinner managed to call for assistance while lying in the road but when police units arrived, the stolen car sped off over the top of PC Skinner’s bike.
All four suspects were later arrested and subsequently received custodial sentences for offences ranging from conspiracy to commit burglary, assault and kidnap.
A forensic scientist identified the liquid poured onto the officer’s face as ammonium hydroxide, which causes burns.
PC Skinner, who is still receiving treatment for the injuries she sustained, later received a Chief Constable’s Commendation for her actions which directly led to the arrest, charge, conviction and 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 upmost recognition.”
Warwickshire Chief Constable Martin Jelley said: “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, to see the job through.
“This is a real example that police officers are ordinary people who sometimes do extraordinary things.”
Stephen Mann, CEO of Police Mutual, said: “This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Police Bravery Awards and the eighth consecutive year that Police Mutual has sponsored them.
“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.”