A man who wielded a screwdriver at customers in a restaurant is behind bars for ten months after off-duty Surrey Police officers unarmed him.
Roads Policing officer PC Ian Nash and his wife Detective Constable Gemma Nash from Staines CID were enjoying a meal at Raj Cuisine in The Broadway, Woodham, on February 28 when the incident happened.
They heard screams from the bar area of the restaurant at 10.15pm where Nicholas James Wilkins had assaulted a customer with a screwdriver.
The duo leapt to action believing he had a knife and together unarmed the 46-year-old.
Head of Operations on the Northern Division Superintendent Chris Moon praised their actions.
“This story typifies the commitment our officers have to keeping the public safe, be it on or off-duty,” he said.
“They put themselves in harm’s way believing this man had a knife, without any of the normal protective equipment frontline officers have.”
PC Nash said: “We were having a meal with our backs turned to the bar area and we heard someone shout ‘drop the knife’.
“That’s a sentence you can’t ignore – you feel compelled to get up and do something to prevent anyone coming to any harm.
“We had no idea of how serious it was going to be. It’s just instinct; you just do what you’ve got to do.”
DC Nash added: “There were a couple of people there holding him. I could see he had a handle of something and I thought it was a knife too.
“I was thinking ‘this could go horribly wrong – we have to quickly get that knife off him’.
“It was quite handy having Ian there. I knew that he knew what to do and was conflict trained.
“I was repeatedly shouting for the man to drop it and Ian was physically trying to get it off him.
“Once we had him down outside we called 999, that was when I realised it was a long screwdriver.”
Wilkins was ordered to pay the victim of the assault £150 in compensation when he was sentenced at Redhill Magistrates Court on Monday (March 2), where he had pleaded guilty to common assault and possession of an offensive weapon.
He was also guilty of breaching bail conditions not to be drunk in a public place, or without reasonable excuse, cause harassment, alarm and distress to members of the public, which were imposed on him at Staines Magistrates Court on January 21.