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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006, 15:41 GMT
Row over murdered officer's award
Detective Constable Stephen Oake
DC Stephen Oake was stabbed during an anti-terrorism raid
Murdered police officer Stephen Oake, who was stabbed to death in an anti-terrorism raid, will not be given a posthumous gallantry award.

Det Con Oake, 40, died after being stabbed by al-Qaeda suspect Kamel Bourgass in Manchester in 2003.

Greater Manchester Police had nominated him for the George Cross, the highest civilian award for gallantry.

But the Home Office said standards for awarding the gallantry awards were "extremely high".

A spokesman said: "All recommendations are considered on their merit on the advice of others."

The George Cross is the civilian equivalent to the Victoria Cross and has not been awarded to a police officer for 30 years.

The Oake family
Stephen chose to intervene even though he was unarmed
Sgt Paul Kelly, Greater Manchester Police Federation

It is given for "acts of the greatest heroism or the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger".

At Downing Street a spokesman for Tony Blair said: "It would be wrong for the prime minister to get involved. There is no precedent for the prime minister to get involved."

Mr Oake was a married father-of-three from Poynton, Cheshire.

Police had launched a nationwide search to find Bourgass, who fled from London to Manchester after officers discovered a suspected chemical weapons laboratory in Wood Green, London.

On 14 January 2003, Mr Oake was called to a flat in Crumpsall and was stabbed as he tried to restrain Bourgass and stop him getting away.

'Absolute insult'

In a desperate bid to flee the scene, Bourgass attacked Mr Oake with a kitchen knife, plunging the blade into his chest eight times, piercing his heart and lungs.

Sgt Paul Kelly, chairman of Greater Manchester Police Federation, said: "Such a decision is an absolute insult to the memory of Stephen, his family and every police officer in Britain.

"Stephen was brutally murdered by an utterly evil, dangerous man who had already stabbed and very nearly killed a colleague.

"Stephen chose to intervene even though he was unarmed and wearing no protective equipment."

It was loyalty to his colleagues while ensuring that the law would be upheld
Robin Oake, Stephen's father
Algerian Bourgass, 32, was jailed for life in June 2004 after being found guilty of murder and the attempted murder and wounding of other police officers.

In a separate trial he was also convicted of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance through the manufacture of ricin poison.

Bourgass was wanted by police after they had discovered evidence of a ricin and explosives plot in his flat in Wood Green, north London, in 2002.

Mr Oake's father, Robin, who is a retired Chief Constable of the Isle of Man Police and previous Assistant Chief Constable in Greater Manchester, told the BBC his son "would not have acted as he did to seek any recognition."

Kamel Bourgass
Bourgass stabbed Mr Oake eight times
He said in an e-mail: "It was loyalty to his colleagues while ensuring that the law would be upheld."

To nominate someone for the George Cross, a police chief constable puts forward an officer and tells the Home Office, which considers them on their merits with advice from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.

A recommendation is then made to the Cabinet Office's George Cross Committee.

The committee decides who should get the medals and Tony Blair formally submits these recommendations to the Queen.

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