When PC Sanya Shahid saw a stolen car was on a collision course with a young boy in Leeds, instinct kicked in and she put herself in its path in an attempt to protect him.
Her act of bravery was just one of many examples of police officers, volunteers and members of the public going above and beyond that were recognised during the Leeds District Police Awards 2018.
The ceremony, held with the support of the University of Leeds, came on the same day that 25-year-old PC Shahid’s actions were also commended by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
A trainee officer at the time, PC Shahid was on attachment with a traffic unit in the city on December 15 last year when they were called to support the pursuit of a stolen BMW.
The car had failed to stop for officers in an unmarked vehicle when PC Shahid and a senior colleague were instructed to position their patrol car in the road to prevent its escape.
But when the BMW mounted the kerb in a bid to get away, it trapped a 10-year-old boy against a shop wall.
PC Shahid launched herself across the bonnet of the stolen BMW in an effort to protect the child, who was taken to hospital with suspected leg fractures.
Recalling the incident, PC Shahid said: “As we were coming up the street, the suspect car was coming down and the two other police cars were behind it. We positioned our vehicle so the car couldn’t go anywhere and at that moment I thought it was finished.
“All of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, he mounted the kerb. I ran out, went over the bonnet, and tried to get the child away – he was just a kid in his uniform.”
A crowd gathered as the boy was freed and a passing runner offered his waterproof jacket until an ambulance arrived.
PC Shahid, who suffered only bruising, said none of it really sank in until colleagues back at the station began to congratulate her for quick-thinking and bravery, adding: “You don’t think about it, you just do it.”
The IOPC was drafted in to investigate after the unmarked police car collided with the back of the BMW, but found the officer behind the wheel had no disciplinary case to answer.
The IOPC said: “During our investigation, we brought to West Yorkshire Police’s attention the actions of one of the officers who, despite the BMW moving towards her, placed herself in a position to try and shield the child and prevent them sustaining further injury.
“We believe this officer displayed qualities which are a credit to her and the force.”
The first to be presented with a certificate during the awards ceremony, PC Shahid said: “It motivates you to do more. My sister was there and she was about to tear up. It was really special. It’s just a certificate to other people, but for me it’s a whole story. It was really nice.”
The citation on PC Shahid’s certificate reads: “In recognition of your outstanding bravery and selfless actions, putting your own safety at risk in protecting a child who had been struck by a stolen car which was still moving.”