Hero off-duty policewoman snared jewellery thieves after yoga class
PUBLISHED: 17:40 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:40 07 February 2019
A heroic off-duty Suffolk police officer who caught a pair of jewellery thieves is celebrating after receiving an award for her bravery.
In July 2018, PC Joanne Smith was off-duty and leaving a yoga session in Colchester.
She had never attended that particular class before – and it was by complete chance that she was in Trinity Street when two men attempted to rob the independent Chimes Jewellers.
“I was centred and zen and feeling lovely when I thought I heard someone shout ‘robbery’ as I walked down the street,” said PC Smith.
“Then I definitely heard someone shout ‘armed robbery’.
“I saw what looked like a motorbike – it was a powerful-looking bike and it was a busy Saturday morning in the middle of town, there were children walking about – I thought they were going to kill someone if they tried to get away.
“I wasn’t thinking like a police officer, I was just a member of the public and I was really angry at them so I threw my yoga mat to my instructor and ran up to the bike to get the keys out of the ignition.”
When PC Smith couldn’t find the keys, two men emerged from the jewellers with metal bars and ran away on foot – with PC Smith and two members of the public chasing them.
The trio managed to catch and detain one of the men – and all of the stolen jewellery was returned to the owners.
Simon Jacobs, 21, of no fixed address, was charged in connection with the incident and later admitted robbery at Chelmsford Crown Court.
“I have to say the two members of the public that helped me catch him were amazing,” she added.
“What I did was much ado about nothing, it’s part of my training and part of my job. If I wasn’t an officer I think I would have done the same again though, it’s just the kind of person I am.”
PC Smith, of Suffolk Constabulary, was commended for her bravery and selflessness during an incident where she was faced with considerable danger – and was honoured by Essex chief constable Ben-Julian Harrington alongside fellow officers.
Addressing the group, Mr Harrington said: “It brings me great pleasure to host these ceremonies to celebrate ordinary individuals taking extra-ordinary steps to help save the lives of others, protect the vulnerable and keep the people of Essex safe.”
Meanwhile, deputy police and crime commissioner Jane Gardener added: “I would like to say thank you for the outstanding contribution you have made in a range of difficult circumstances.
“One of the things I’ve always found with the officers I see is their absolute compassion in spite of the challenging situations they are confronted with.”