Two Cumbria Police officers have been nominated for the 2024 national Police Bravery Awards for their heroic acts while dealing with a violent outburst at an asylum seeker hotel.

PC Ruth Coates and PC Michael Doyle attended an incident at a temporary asylum hotel in Alston on November 12, 2022, after reports of a male causing damage and acting in a strange and unsettling manner.

Arriving on scene, the male was initially calm but when, on hearing from staff of his actions, they approached the individual to arrest and detain him.

The man attempted to flee but PC Doyle managed to tackle him on the stairs with assistance from PC Coates.

At this moment the man clamped his mouth down on PC Coates’ arm with such force that he penetrated multiple layers of clothing.

PC Doyle eventually managed to prise the man’s jaw open with his fingers. Such was the strength of the man’s bite PC Coates has been left with a permanent scar.

At this point the man then bit down on PC Doyle’s finger, again with intense strength, so much in fact that PC Doyle believed his finger was being bitten off.

As PC Coates tried to remove the individual and free her colleague, the man attempted to grab her taser.

PC Coates deployed her taser three times in her efforts to free her colleague.

Despite enduring severe bite wounds and the effects of PAVA spray, both officers held the man down for another 21 minutes while awaiting backup.

Such was the urgency to provide back up, and so remote was the hotel, the backup officers had driven with such intensity to the scene that their brakes were worn out and ‘tactical contact’ with a tree was required to bring the vehicle to a stop.

Cumbria Police Chief Constable Rob Carden said: “As you might expect, I am very supportive of this nomination.

"I think this incident demonstrates what response officers are sometimes confronted with as first responders.

"Response officers are often the first officers to be deployed to danger and they are often the only officers the public meet in person.

“I am very proud of the way both officers conducted themselves during this incident and this is a view that was clearly considered during the sentencing of the offender.

"Both officers showed professionalism, determination, resilience and courage. 

"In short, a really first-class effort and two very worthy nominations for such a prestigious award," he said. 

Cumbria Police Federation Chair Ed Russell said: “This incident shows the unpredictable nature of policing.

"Both officers displayed incredible fortitude in the face of a sustained attack and incredible professionalism in ensuring none of the members of public present were injured.

"The suspect was restrained appropriately, and no further damage was caused.

"No one books on duty expecting to be bitten, punched and abused, but when these things do occur it takes a very special sort of person to show control, restraint and professionalism, which is what Ruth and Mike displayed in abundance.

“It is these acts of bravery and measure that still set the British police apart from their contemporaries, and this nomination is a reflection of this.

"I wish them the best of luck."