Tonight’s action-packed Police Interceptors episode showcases a dramatic armed response following a report of a man with a gun in a playground.
A plain-clothed detective sergeant witnessed the incident which was near to St Ann’s police station and the incident took a worrying turn when the suspect moved into a busy children’s park.
In the footage, firearms officers can be seen arriving at Sycamore Park in broad daylight and ordering the suspects to ‘stand still’.
A multi-team response descended to the location just after 5.30pm on 1 October 2020 involving firearms officers, the police helicopter and police dogs Quantum and Morse together with their handlers.
They surrounded the park but held back to observe and gauge the threat level without giving away their presence. They soon realised that the suspects were in an area where 10-15 children were playing nearby and they monitored the situation until it was safe to approach.
Constable Lee Frith was the operational firearms commander that day and it was his job to lead the firearms team on the ground. He said: “I was aware of it being an incredibly open and public place with lots of children on the park and some youngsters playing football nearby.
“As we approached them, my focus was purely on the safety of those around us and the rest of my team while going towards an armed suspect.
“We operated full containment and positioned the armed response vehicles around the location so the suspects were trapped. We then moved in from different angles with the helicopter talking us in.”
The firearms team swiftly arrested two boys, aged 14, and a 16-year-old girl on suspicion of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. They also seized a weapon – a BB gun.
In the full episode, the youngsters can be seen passing the gun between each other and the eye in the sky spots the weapon ‘apparently’ being loaded.
After being confronted by armed police, officers explain the potential seriousness of the situation to the youngsters and at first they don’t seem to appreciate the potential dangers that their actions could have led to when they were surrounded by armed police offices, helicopter and police dog.
However, the gravity of the situation finally dawns on them as they’re being led away with one of the suspects talking about how the incident could impact on his future career prospects.
Following the arrest, an officer can be heard saying: “We could have shot a 14-year-old boy.”
PC Frith said: “This was such a serious situation which could have resulted in a tragedy had the suspects acted in any other way.
“BB guns are not illegal but as was the case with this one, they can look completely the same as a legitimate firearm and it is an offence to use them to insight fear.
“I remember that we were all really shocked afterwards having had such a close encounter and the realisation hit home that one of us could have shot a child which would have had devastating repercussions for everyone.
“I hope youngsters will see this and think twice about messing around with imitation weapons.”
The trio were given a conditional youth caution and referred to the youth offending team.
PC Frith is no stranger to finding himself in dangerous situations having been with the firearms team for more than 15 years. He said: “The training kicks in and you don’t think about the dangers until afterwards.
“As the ground commander, my priority is to safeguard members of the public that are in the area and bring the incident to a safe conclusion.
“It is an incredibly rewarding role and I love the diverse nature of it where every day brings a whole new experience.”
“I’ve enjoyed being part of Interceptors but I’m really doing it for my girls (aged 12 and 14) who wanted to see daddy on TV!”
The next part of the Interceptors action then goes onto feature a nasty sledge hammer heist at a convenience store.
The robber can be seen ransacking the tills and shattering the stock room door, leaving staff and customers terrified, before fleeing into the night and subsequently being arrested. He is albeit a little worse for wear with an officer stating in the video: “He’s clearly completely away with the fairies.”
The case concluded with Craig Bagley, 34, formerly of Austin Street, Bulwell, being sentenced for committing three shop robberies alongside possession of cocaine, cannabis and two counts possessing an offensive weapon in a public place. He received six years, six months behind bars.
The show then sees a police foot chase ensue after two suspects have allegedly stolen almost £1,000 worth of chocolate. It then concludes with a moped driver who ends up in tears after being caught using a mobile phone while driving.
Catch the full episode of Police Interceptors tonight at 8pm on My5.