Islington Police officers ‘risked lives’ to detain machete-wielding bomb vest man in Highbury

PCs Marc Woolmer and Alex Field of Islington Police. Picture: Met Police

PCs Marc Woolmer and Alex Field of Islington Police. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Five Islington Police officers have been shortlisted for a Met bravery award for detaining a man waving a machete – and wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest.

On Sunday, January 3 last year, PCs Jason Hodgson and Alex Field were called to Avenell Road in Highbury – in the shadow of the former Arsenal Stadium – after the man had been reported.

They confronted the suspect, who was shouting aggressively and waving the machete. Both officers stop the suspect on the ground. The man violently resisted and required two sets of handcuffs to be subdued.

Once detained, both officers spotted a number of coloured electrical wires protruding from his jacket, suggesting he was wearing a suicide vest.

Mindful they were in a densely populated area, the Met said they made the selfless decision to tightly hug the suspect and prevent his movement from triggering the suspected device.

PCs Wayne Pullen, Marc Woolmer and Sam Homer arrived on scene. PC Pullen, using his past military experience, searched the suspect and deconstructed parts of a circuit board and metal plates attached to wires in his jacket.

It was later found to be a non-viable device. The suspect had mental health problems.

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A Met spokesman said: “Fast time decision-making and the courageous actions of these officers resulted in the safe detention and arrest of the suspect.

“Explosives officers and armed police arrived on scene shortly after and were it not for the actions of the Islington officers, they would have had to engage the suspect who presented every visual indication of a terrorist threat.”

The officers are on a shortlist of four for the bravery awards. Voting closes at midnight on February 6. Visit