Posthumous award for murdered Pc
Published 18/10/2013 | 00:41
A police officer who was shot dead when he tried to wrestle a weapon from a gunman who had opened fire on a couple in the street has been posthumously given a national bravery award.
Pc Ian Dibell, 41, was voted as the most courageous officer in England and Wales at the annual Police Bravery Awards after he lost his life trying to prevent a bloodbath near his home in the seaside town of Clacton, Essex, in July last year.
Peter Reeve, 64, had opened fire on his neighbour Trevor Marshall and Mr Marshall's girlfriend, Katarzyna Karolak, and was chasing Mr Marshall in his blue Toyota.
Mr Dibell, a father-of-two, leaned into the car to try to grab the gun and a bullet passed into his hand and then through his chest, causing fatal injuries.
Steve Williams, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "Officers put others' lives before their own. Sadly as our winner's story highlights this can have tragic consequences.
"Pc Ian Dibell was a valiant team player; his bravery on that fateful day typifies his whole life - always putting others before himself."
Mr Dibell was also given a commendation in May by Essex Police Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle, who said that his selfless actions could have saved many lives.
Gunman Mr Reeve, a former mechanic, went on the rampage after becoming obsessed that his neighbours were dealing drugs and printing money.
He took his own life and was found dead in a churchyard in Writtle, Essex, the day after Mr Dibell was shot.
The constable had run back to his house to get his warrant card when he realised that a gunman was on the loose, meaning that technically he was on duty when he died.
Mr Dibell was selected as the overall winner after officers were nominated for awards by 37 forces across England and Wales.
All the nominees were invited to a reception at Downing Street yesterday, followed by an evening ceremony at 8 Northumberland Avenue in London, where eight regional awards were also handed out.
For the North West, Constable Nathan Jackman and Constable Peter Stevens from Merseyside won for their courage in tackling a knifeman and saving a victim's life.
In the North East, off-duty Constable Sara Widdrington from North Yorkshire was recognised for tackling a gunman in a supermarket
For the Midlands, Constable Stephen Fletcher and Constable Rory Stuart-Knill from West Midlands received their award after being attacked by a petrol bomb gang
In the Eastern region, Constable Martin Bentley from Norfolk won after chasing a knifeman despite being stabbed
Mr Dibell won the regional award for the South East, as well as the overall national award
In Wales, Constable Alun Morgan from Dyfed Powys was rewarded for braving icy water in a quarry to rescue a boy from drowning
For the South West, Constable Nicholas French from Gloucestershire won the regional award after tackling a man armed with a knife and a lawn edger
And in London, Constables Stephen Barker, Thomas Harding, Shumal Haque, Alastair Hinchliff and Andrew Robb were recognised for confronting a man armed with a knife in a butcher's shop, ending in three of them being stabbed and one seriously fracturing bones in both hands.
Chairman of Essex Police Federation Mark Smith attended the Downing Street reception and award ceremony with Mr Dibell's brothers Paul, who is an Inspector, and Neil, who is a member of police staff.
Mr Smith said: "Ian died doing what we all joined to do, and that's protect the public. We can never measure how many he saved but undoubtedly he did. Peter Reeve was in the street, firing indiscriminately.
"You do have to be a special type of person to be a police officer. You don't join to get rich, you join to look after and protect the public, and that's what he was doing.
"Everybody who was nominated did a brave act. The result of Ian's brave act was that he lost his life, and that could have happened to any of the others as well."
Home Secretary Theresa May said: "Ian Dibell's death is a reminder not just of the bravery police officers show on a daily basis, but also the depth of their commitment to public service.
"Pc Dibell was off duty when he stepped in to help a neighbour in distress. He could have walked away, but he chose to put himself in harm's way.
"His bravery, and that shown by thousands of his colleagues up and down the country, is yet another reminder that we have the best police officers in the world."