A South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) paramedic has been awarded a prestigious bravery award for his actions in disarming a man in Hailsham, East Sussex, last year. Gary Criddle, a paramedic based at Hailsham Ambulance Station in East Sussex, was presented with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) National Bravery Award at a ceremony in Harrogate on 19 June.
It was on driving back to base in the early hours of the morning in June 2013 that Gary and his crewmate were stopped by a man who suddenly leapt in front of their ambulance. When winding down the window to check what he wanted, the man suddenly produced a gun and pointed it at Gary. They quickly drove to a safe position and put in a call to the police.
Gary said, “A regular part of our job is calming people down and persuading them, so I walked back to the man and did just that. Despite the man’s threats, fortunately, he calmed down and dropped the gun to the ground.”
SECAmb Chief Executive Paul Sutton said, “Gary’s actions were extremely brave and well beyond what we would expect of him. He de-escalated the incident quickly and calmly and we are very proud that he has received such a high profile award.”
Chief Inspector Gary Pike of Sussex Police, Wealden District, said, “We admire this example of the initiative and courage of our colleagues in other emergency services, with whom we are proud to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, helping to protect our communities.”