Six Clarence Valley officers were among those recognised at the Police Bravery Awards in Coffs Harbour.
Six Clarence Valley officers were among those recognised at the Police Bravery Awards in Coffs Harbour. Trevor Veale

Officers rewarded for courage

AS FLAMES engulfed a truck and spread across three lanes of the Pacific Highway, the only thought in Constable Stephen Bell's mind was for the welfare of the driver.

The truck had crashed near Blackadder Creek. With the neighbouring bush catching alight, and no other officers on the scene, Constable Bell climbed into the burning prime mover.

After searching the cabin, the sleeper area and checking around the truck, which by then was well alight, Cnst Bell noticed the driver had climbed from his rig and was a safe distance away.

At a Police Bravery Awards ceremony in Coffs Harbour yesterday, Cnst Bell was commended for his bravery during the horrific incident on July 10, 2009.


Five other Clarence Valley police officers were recognised for their professionalism and bravery at the awards ceremony:

  • Probationary Constable Paul Bradley was awarded for his initiative and professionalism when he attended an attempted suicide at Woombah in January 2009.

    When he discovered a man threatening to take his life was locked in a shed, he smashed a window and climbed into the shed.

    He got there in the nick of time and stopped the man as he was trying to hang himself.


  • Senior Constable Philip Benefield was commended for his bravery and courage when he dealt with a life-threatening self-harm incident at Grafton.

    On July 21, 2008, he jumped into the freezing water of the Clarence River to assist two teenage boys who were rescuing an elderly woman who had tried to commit suicide by drowning.

    At the riverbank, fellow officers assisted Snr Cnst Benefield to lift the woman over thick reeds so she could be tended to by paramedics.


  • Senior Constable Darren Bartrim was awarded for his courage and professionalism when, working solo, he arrested two offenders who repeatedly rammed his police vehicle in November 2007.

    After a pursuit, the offenders deserted their vehicle and ran into bushland while being chased on foot by Snr Cnst Bartrim.

    The offenders were detained by Snr Cnst Bartrim, who suffered a significant injury as a result of the incident.


  • Constables Ashley Hardwick and Alistair McLeod were recognised for their professionalism when they arrested a serial armed robber on August 7, 2007.

    A pistol and clothes worn in an armed robbery at Grafton two days prior to the arrest were also found in the offender's possession.

    The vital arrest prevented the offender from committing further armed robberies.

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