A 15-year-old girl was praised by police at the national Police Public Bravery Awards last night, held in Manchester.
Melissa Faulkner was among a number of Mancunians celebrated in the top categories of the annual awards that celebrate have-a-go-heroes from across the UK.
Melissa was just 14 years old when she defiantly stood up to four male thugs after they callously attacked a man on a bus in Shaw in February 2011.
The thugs threatened to break her jaw after Melissa boldly stood between the four rowdy men and the victim, who had been repeatedly punched and hit by one of the gang in an unprovoked attack.
One of the gang went to punch the man again but Melissa stood her ground.
She remained calm and telephoned for an ambulance and the police, and stayed with the victim until the emergency services arrived.
She was able to provide a clear witness statement to the police, which greatly helped in the investigation and subsequent arrest of the offender, who was later convicted of assault.
Melissa was given a Silver medal at the ceremony.
The awards are a chance for the police service to thank the public-spirited men, women and youngsters who have helped their communities to face up to the threat that crime brings.
Other heroes were recognised for acts of bravery, including Kenneth Dunn, who received a Gold medal and Alfred Thompson who was awarded a Silver award.
Several other people from Manchester were awarded certificates for commendation for their courage.
Honorary awards secretary, Chief Constable David Crompton said: “These acts are a true expression of public spirit and courage.
“They show that the famous quote from Robert Peel, the father modern policing, is alive and well – ‘the police are the public and the public are the police’.”
Gold medal winner Mr Dunn was part of a dynamic duo that came to the rescue after an armed raid in Heaton Moor, Stockport, last year.
Mr Dunn saw the incident in the post office and challenged the offender, asking: “Where do you think you’re going?”
The offender pointed a gun at the floor and said that he did not want to use it.
Alexander Porter and Mr Dunn then followed the offender, and after a scuffle, managed to detain the offender until the police were able to get to the scene.
At the time, both Mr Dunn and Mr Porter believed the gun was real and loaded, but despite this and without hesitation protected other members of the public.
Chief Constable Crompton said that the awards do not encourage people to place themselves in danger, but are an opportunity to pay thanks for those who have shown courage in making the community a safer place.
He said of the event: “Police to pay tribute to those in the community who no doubt consider themselves to be ordinary people and yet have performed extraordinary acts of bravery.”