Two police officers who heroically risked their lives to save a man from a burning flat have won awards for their bravery.
Police Sergeant Michael McGuirk and Police Constable Nikki Smith, both 30, were announced as the winners of the bravery category at the Met Police annual Excellence Awards.
Sergeant McGuirk and PC Smith form part of the emergency policing response team covering Harrow, Brent and Barnet and have been presented with their trophies at the annual Excellence Awards by Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, at the event held last night (19 October) at the Oval in London.
The awards are in recognition of an incident that happened during an evening back in December 2020. The officers were called to a report of a man suffering a mental health crisis inside a flat in Coppetts, Barnet.
Upon arrival, they discovered a man had set himself and his home on fire, and set about fighting their way inside the burning ground floor flat. Unable to access the property, PC McGuirk squeezed his way in via a small window, suffering a deep cut to his knee in the process.
After isolating the fire by turning over the bed he went further into the flat to clear access to the front door. Meanwhile, PC Smith had evacuated families from neighbouring flats to prevent any further injuries. Having cleared the doorway, PC McGuirk went back into the blazing bedroom to rescue the man. Once outside, the two officers provided life-saving CPR until paramedics arrived.
Following the awards win last night, PC Smith, said: “The fire was one of those times where you go into fight or flight mode and luckily we went into fight mode. There is no other job like policing.”
Sergeant McGuirk, said: “I feel really proud and surprised to win this award when considering the other nominations. I didn’t join the police to win a bravery award but I did join to save lives. That’s the job.”
Speaking at the Excellence Awards, Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, said: “These awards celebrate the best of the Met and are one way we recognise the incredible contributions individuals and teams made protecting and serving the people of London.
“Against this success, in stark contrast, there are some very real challenges. This week is a tough one for the Met. There is no denying that and there will be some difficult challenges as we fix the things we need to.
“But I remain optimistic for one reason. I know we will succeed in making the necessary changes, because of you and those like you, the fantastic, dedicated, honest and often heroic officers and staff who make up the vast majority of our people. The very best of those we heard about today.
“Every finalist embodies the best of us and the values we hold dear – they are an inspiration to the rest of us. I am proud of you – you should be proud too.”