A brave officer has been praised for jumping into action while off duty having lunch with his friend when he saw a youngster being chased by men armed with machetes.
Detective Constable Scott Johnson, a Metropolitan Police detective, was having lunch in Chalkwell Park on February 28, 2021 when he noticed a youngster being chased.
Initially, he says he thought, “Is this really happening in this area?
DC Johnson said: “Chalkwell is usually a very safe place so I was a little shocked but then my gut kicked in.
“As they ran past, I stopped one to ask what was going on and he said a few choice words before rushing off. I grabbed my friend’s phone as I had left the mine at home and called 999.
“At first they ran together, but then they split up and I followed the one I originally talked to.
“We raced a lot of roads at Westcliff – he tried to get into a car at one point but I yelled at the driver ‘don’t let him get in your car!’
“While this was going on I was on the line with the Essex Force Control Room giving instructions and updates.
“I didn’t want to engage with him because I had seen him drop the machete but I didn’t know if he had another one so I kept my distance to stay safe but he was still in my seen.
“I run all the time, so he will never get away from me. I run 10k three or four times a week and generally stay fit.
“We raced to Southend United. He was so tired at the end that he collapsed outside the London Road Co-op. He was completely devastated.”
Thanks to DC Johnson’s running commentary, Essex officers were able to quickly locate him and the suspects.
They arrested the first two suspects and then, as the off-duty officer was pursuing the third, another car was deployed and he was arrested.
DC Johnson then helped an Essex Police dog handler search for the machete the man had thrown in the chase.
Two men were subsequently jailed for a total of 25 months in connection with the incident and a youngster was placed on a community order.
DC Scott Johnson was praised by Essex Police Chief Ben-Julian Harrington for his bravery and determination.
Chief Constable Harrington said: ‘To go after three men with machetes is very brave and the fact that Scott was on leave and alone when he started chasing them is particularly brave. It’s a fantastic example of how police officers run into danger when others run away.
“I have no doubt that Scott saved the intended victim from being seriously injured or worse that day.
“Not only that, but his actions directly resulted in the arrest of three dangerous individuals, who have since been dealt with by the courts, two of whom have been imprisoned for the offenses they committed.”
DC Scott Johnson added: “On duty or off, you always have to do something. If I had ignored him, the kid they were chasing might have been stabbed. It comes with work and, of course, it’s good when you get justice.