Former Nottinghamshire police officer returns to crime-fighting after machete stand-off

A former police officer who refused to leave policing behind despite being confronted by a man with a machete has been recognised for her dedication.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 6:49 am

Paula Roker, who lives in Newark and Sherwood, was called to an incident in Lenton where a man was wielding a machete at people in a block of high rise flats.

Arriving first at the scene, she headed up seven flights of stairs and found herself face-to-face with the offender who was brandishing the weapon straight at her.

Paula said: “I realised almost immediately that I knew him because I had helped him sort a domestic incident the week before and luckily he recognised me too. I was almost relieved!

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Former Nottinghamshire police officer Paul Roker, left, receives her commendation at last year's policing awards.

“He came over to me and put his arms around my neck to hug me, still holding the machete, as I tried to calm him, however at the same time a six-strong backup team from Canning Circus police station had just arrived and thought he was attacking me with the machete.”

The man, who had severe mental health issues, was detained under the mental health act without anyone suffering any injuries.

Afterwards Paula’s mind was taken over with questions of what could have happened.

“I would replay the incident in my mind and would often think; what if I hadn’t have dealt with him before and he didn’t know me and calm down?” she said.

"My mental health definitely suffered as a result. Back in 2004, when this happened, mental health and post-traumatic stress wasn't really recognised nationally by any organisation.

"It's much different now. When officers are subjected to anything like this, there's lots of measures in place to protect them and make sure they're supported."

Paula left policing a few years after the incident and went on to run pubs and work as a security officer.

However, she could never fully leave the force behind and volunteered as social media assistant to support Newark and Sherwood neighbourhood team before receiving a commendation in the Nottinghamshire Police awards, in September 2020.

Insp Heather Sutton, district commander for Newark and Sherwood, said: "Paula is an absolute asset to Nottinghamshire Police.

"She has proven her resilience and has continued on her journey in fighting crime."

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