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Friday, 24 March, 2000, 10:22 GMT
Police heroes honoured
Most of the officers are unarmed constables
Six police officers involved in a dramatic fights with gunmen are being honoured for their bravery by the home secretary.

All six tackled the gunmen despite being armed only with batons, or with no weapons at all.

A seventh officer who tackled a knifeman is also being honoured.

Home Secretary, Jack Straw, said: "All the officers receiving the Queen's Commendation for Bravery have displayed exceptional courage, showing no hesitation in putting other people's safety before their own.

Jack Straw
Jack Straw: Praised the men's courage
"It's a privilege for me to pay tribute to these seven officers whose bravery has been recognised by these awards."

Two of the officers, PC Ian Churms and PC Patrick Harris, from Northamptonshire, were involved in a double shooting which ended in dramatic scenes inside PC Harris' home.

PC Churms, a dog handler, was shot in the leg as he tried to persuade the gunman to put down his weapon.

The man's former girlfriend, who had also been shot, managed to reach the home of PC Harris, who lived nearby.

The injured woman hid in his bedroom, along with his wife and daughter.

All the officers receiving the Queen's Commendation for Bravery have displayed exceptional courage

Home Secretary Jack Straw
PC Harris hid behind the bedroom door and grabbed the gun as the man burst in. The gun went off in the struggle before PC Harris managed to overcome him.

In another incident, a detective constable from the Norfolk force, Michael Roxby, suffered several stab wounds as he tackled a would-be bank robber who was also armed with a shotgun.

The officer happened to be in the building society when the robbery took place.

Knifepoint rescue

Three officers from Greater Manchester, Inspector Peter Smith, PC John Bentley and PC Paul Heap each received an award for managing to overpower a man armed with a sawn-off shotgun.

And a Sussex dog-handler, PC Antoni Smith, was honoured for disarming a man who was holding a woman and her two children hostage at knifepoint.

They are receiving the Queen's Commendation for Bravery, in recognition of action above and beyond the call of duty in protecting the public from armed attackers.

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