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The Prince of Wales presents an award to Greater Manchester Pc Geoffrey Hince

HRH attends the 12th annual Police Bravery Awards

12th July 2007

The Prince of Wales paid tribute to the ‘exceptional people’ working as police officers in the UK today as he presented some of the bravest with awards at a ceremony in London.

Seventy-two officers were nominated at the 12th annual Police Bravery Awards which crowned the bravest officer nationally, and for each region.

Others attending the awards, which celebrate the bravery of officers who risk their lives to keep the public safe, included Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Shadow Home secretary George Osborne, Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross, model Nell McAndrew, television presenter Natasha Kaplinsky and Rebekah Wade, editor of The Sun newspaper which sponsors the awards.

Before the ceremony, at the Dorchester hotel in London, the nominated officers met Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street.

In a speech, The Prince said he was pleased to get the opportunity to thank the "remarkable" police officers for their often unrecognised work.

His Royal Highness said: "We have witnessed very recently the challenges from terrorism which puts the police service on the front line and renders their task even more difficult but they have risen to that challenge with a quiet authority and professionalism and astonishing good humour in often impossible circumstances.

The Prince said of the modesty that characterised the officers presented with awards: "We will hear them say they were just doing their jobs. Perhaps they were, but it is an exceptional job and they are exceptional people."

Greater Manchester Pc Geoffrey Hince was voted the bravest officer in England and Wales.

In October 2004, despite being unarmed, off duty and not in uniform, he chased two armed men in balaclavas as they ran into a post office. He tackled the first offender, knocking him to the ground but was then attacked by his accomplice wielding a machete.

He was hit several times and his arm was slashed, but despite his injuries, Pc Hince wrestled the man to the ground and restrained him, fighting off his accomplice who fled the scene.

Of his award he said: "I am just shocked, completely shocked, I didn't expect this.

"There's so many brave officers out there and reading the stories you feel that yours is insignificant compared to them."

Emma Bashforth from West Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, and Rebecca Powell, from Reading, Berkshire, risked their lives when they rescued three children and their parents who were trapped in a blazing flat in Acton, west London.

Pc Powell said: "It was quite scary because it was black and you couldn't see half a metre in front of you.

"The London Fire Brigade said had we not acted as we did there would have been five fatalities."

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