Off-duty officer who stopped shoplifter armed with brick given bravery award

An off-duty police officer has been awarded a bravery commendation after stopping an armed shoplifter in the Black Country.

Michael Hall from West Midlands Police
Michael Hall from West Midlands Police

Michael Hall spotted a man carrying a large bag in one hand and a brick in the other, while shopping at One Stop in Hales Lane, in Smethwick.

The man proceeded to fill the bag with various items before raising the brick and threatening staff when they challenged him.

He then ran out of the shop, at which point Mr Hall managed to grab the man, injuring himself in the process as the shoplifter attempted to get away.

But despite being hurt, Mr Hall was able to single-handedly detain the man, allowing staff to contact the police who attended and arrested him. The goods were returned to the shop and no staff were injured during the incident on March 8 last year.

During investigations, police discovered the offender had been into the shop the previous day, and had again threatened staff with a glass bottle while stealing from the store.

Mr Hall, who has served as a West Midlands Police officer for 35 years and is now a supervisor on the cannabis disposal team, has now been given a Good Citizen Award.

He has previously received two bravery commendations, the Chief Constable's award for delivering a baby in the street and an Outstanding Citizens Awards for tackling knife crime.

Superintendent Philip Asquith presents Michael with the Good Citizen Award

Superintendent Philip Asquith, from the force's Sandwell Neighbourhood Policing Unit, presented Michael with the Good Citizen Award last month.

Supt Asquith said: “I believe that if Mike had not been present that day and had not been willing to take positive physical action against this man, there was a potential that members of the public would have been hurt and the offender would have continued to commit offences using violence against staff and potentially, members of the public.

“Mike should be recognised for his action and bravery in stopping this criminal, getting him brought to justice and for protecting the public."

Mr Hall joined West Midlands Police in 1986 and said he does what he does “for the good people" of the community and has been involved with local fundraisers over the years, including for a Sandwell schoolgirl who grew and sold plants to sell for cancer charity funds.

After meeting the schoolgirl and her mother during a routine patrol, Mike delivered leftover soil and small pots from seizures at various drugs busts by the cannabis disposal team, along with some extra gifts for the project back in 2019, including gardening tools and a watering can.

He said: “You try to live by the ethos of policing, namely to prevent crime, protect the public and help those in need, but also to be involved with the community. It’s a decent way to live and a good set of principles to keep.

"Everybody that works for the police, it doesn’t matter what role you play, you have a duty and you’re doing it for the good people. You tend to try and do the right thing whether you’re on shift or not.

“Evil prospers when good people do nothing – I find this to be true and I can’t just stand back when I know something’s wrong."

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