A Dyfed Powys police officer who was threatened with a knife after finding a high-risk missing teenager has been nominated for a national bravery award.
PC Mark Thomas joined the search last November after the 18-year-old was reported missing and was believed to be walking along the A48 near Cross Hands.
The Roads Policing Unit officer spotted a man matching the description and, fearing for his safety as he was so close to the busy dual carriageway, approached him to check if he was OK.
But, as PC Thomas got closer, the teenager pulled out a knife and attempted to attack him with it.
The officer said: “As I was within reaching distance, he started running and withdrew something from his clothes. I didn’t immediately realise that it was a silver kitchen knife.
“As I got closer, he turned towards me and swung the knife at me in a slashing motion across my chest. I would say this was inches away.
“I pushed him to the floor to try to stop him, and he fell to the ground, swinging the knife at me again – this time slashing across my shins.”
PC Thomas continued the chase and Tasered the suspect who attempted to escape from him over a bank into a nearby river. The suspect was pulled from the river by his colleague PC Leighton Webb.
PC Thomas had sustained minor injuries during the incident and was able to remain on duty but said he is aware how different the outcome could have been.
He said: “Now I have had time to start to process this incident, I can’t quite believe what happened.
“I’m thankful that the knife used to assault me wasn’t sharper, or he could have seriously injured my legs and chest.
“I dread to think what some of the potential consequences of this incident could have been.”
Dyfed Powys Police Federation chair Gareth Jones said: “PC Mark Thomas showed tremendous courage throughout this incident which highlights how a police officer’s day can go from routine to life-threatening in an instant.
“In trying to help a vulnerable missing person, he found himself in an extremely dangerous situation but showed the bravery and determination to make sure it was brought under control and should be commended for his actions.”
The teenager was charged with threatening a person with a blade or sharply pointed article in a public place, and was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. He was given a rehabilitation requirement of 20 days and was ordered to pay costs of £85, a victim surcharge of £128 and compensation of £200.
PC Thomas will join officers from across England and Wales at the national Police Bravery Awards, organised by the Police Federation of England and Wales, in London in December.