Police Detective honoured for bravery in armed Maida Vale car chase

A pair of heroic police officers who dodged death pursuing an armed criminal in a Maida Vale car chase have been honoured for their bravery.

Det Con Charmaine Brenyah and Pc Alan O’Connor were on patrol when they pulled over a stolen car in Herries Street, Queen’s Park, in September 2009.

Det Con Brenyah, 32, a former banker, said: “We were obviously in ‘police’ mode because we knew the car was stolen. But it wasn’t until the man pointed a gun at me that I knew he was armed.

“I remember hearing a load of clicks, and it turned out later the gun was loaded, but didn’t fire.

“When we looked back, reviewing the case you realise how close we came to being seriously injured or even killed.

“They jumped back in the car and drove off and we chased them. I wasn’t thinking about the danger, I was just thinking about doing my job, which was getting the message back to the officers providing back-up.

“We chased them down the Harrow Road. They fired at our car and the gun did go off that time.

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“They smashed into another police car, jumped out and ran down the Harrow Road with their guns in the air.

“There were a lot of children just leaving school so it was really worrying.”

The men were eventually arrested, despite one trying to leap into the canal to escape.

They were found to be behind several cash van robberies, and the gunman was given a minimum 17-year jail term.

Det Con Brenyah added: “I’m very proud we got them off the streets. It’s great to be nominated for this award – it’s the highlight of my career so far.”

She took just two days off to recover before returning to duty at her Paddington Green Police Station base.

Det Con Brenyah joined the force in 2006 after deciding to quit her day job as a banker with the Royal Bank of Scotland. She has since moved to Belgravia Police Station to take up a post as a homicide detective.

She says the memory of the event hasn’t held her back in her career, and she has never regretted joining the police.

“My family was worried of course; they will always think about the worst case scenario and what could have happened. But I love doing my job, I really feel like I get to make a difference.”