TWO Llanelli police officers have been described as the perfect team for the way they dealt with a violent and aggressive man with a knife.
PC Hannah Jones and PC Justin Harrold were responding to a routine noise complaint when a man stormed out of his house wielding a kitchen knife with an eight inch blade.
To show the risks faced by officers every day, Dyfed-Powys Police has released “chilling” body worn camera footage from the night.
Looking back at the incident, which took place in Graig Avenue on March 15, 2020, PC Jones explained that on arrival at the house they could never have imagined what would have happened next.
“We’d been dispatched to a routine noisy neighbour call, and had no reason to believe there were any heightened risks,” she said.
“We tried knocking the front door, with no response, so we went around to the back garden to try and explain we were there to help.
“We tried to talk to him through the door, and when he opened it I could see he was holding a large knife above his head and aggressively shouting at us. He lunged towards both of us, brandishing the knife.
“I could see his aggressive nature, and had immediate concerns for our safety. I took a step back to create distance between us, but he came charging towards me with the knife.
“The attack heightened my awareness of my surroundings and I realised that I was further away from the garden exit than I initially thought.”
Time seemed to pass in slow motion for the PCs as the situation took a dangerous turn. As PC Jones raised her baton in defence, she feared they might have been seriously hurt as Jan Olav Kvaerneng-Stolp continued to lunge towards them.
The officers became separated, and PC Harrold found himself near the garden gate while PC Jones was still inside.
“I was shocked,” PC Harrold said. “In training you prepare for situations like this, but you hope they never happen.
“We are trained to get away at the sight of a knife, so my immediate priority was to create distance. In the time Hannah was distracting him, I wanted her to come out of the contained garden so was shouting for her to come towards me.
“Once she did, I drew my PAVA spray and fired it. He became quickly incapacitated dropping to the floor, and I think he dropped the knife. It all happened so quickly and could have ended very differently.”
While the officers remained calm during the incident, both later realised the seriousness of what they had faced.
PC Jones said: “Once the adrenaline had subdued, we had time to reflect on the possible outcomes.
In hindsight it was an extremely frightening experience, but thankfully our training kicked in and I acted reactively in accordance with what I have been taught.
“It took a while to realise the seriousness of what we had experienced and we were both thankful that nobody was hurt.
“It has made me realise that this job is one where even the most routine of calls can turn into something more serious than it may initially appear. I’m very thankful that neither of us was physically hurt, and I think I will be a better police officer as the result of this experience.”
The pair have been praised by Chief Inspector Jolene Mann for acting with the utmost professionalism in an extremely dangerous incident.
She said: “The officers quickly reverted to their training and safely distanced themselves from the subject. I am extremely proud of how they acted.
“The subject was violent and extremely aggressive, but Hannah and Justin responded in a calm and measured manner – they truly are remarkable.
“I watched the body worn footage and it is chilling. They had to act and think quickly, and swiftly brought the matter to a safe conclusion. I spoke to both officers after the incident, and they explained that at the time they just went into autopilot, however they were understandably frightened.
“In particular, Hannah was outstanding – she took complete control of the situation, and Justin composed himself and waited for the perfect opportunity to deploy PAVA spray. They were the perfect team.
“Daily, officers across the country lace up their boots, put on their uniforms and respond to incidents. They do it in the knowledge that they could be confronted with an unexpected threat or risk at any passing second, but they do it to protect our communities from harm.
“Our officers are your officers – an attack on them is an attack on the whole community. It will not be tolerated.”
Jan-Olav Kvaerneng-Stolp was charged with affray and was sentenced to an 18 month community order and 200 hours of unpaid work at Swansea Crown Court on Tuesday, May 5.