Police Now officers receive bravery award for removing loaded firearm from the streets of Birmingham
Monday 5th February 2024
Police Sergeant Akeel Akhtar and Police Constable Aikam Hundal were presented with bravery awards last week for successfully detaining an individual in Birmingham and removing a loaded firearm from his possession. They were presented at the West Midlands Police Federation Bravery Awards.
Akeel has already won two awards since he joined the force in 2020 for his outstanding neighbourhood policing work in Bordesley Green, including ‘Student Officer of the Year’. Both officers joined West Midlands Police via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme, which recruits, trains and supports graduates to become outstanding leaders in neighbourhood policing teams across England and Wales.
Akeel and Aikam identified two known members of an Organised Crime Group (OCG) whilst out on a late-night patrol in Alum Rock as part of ‘Operation Guardian’ – a Home Office funded operation which aims to reduce violent crime, with a particular focus on reducing youth knife crime. After engaging with the two men and having suitable grounds for stop and search, one of the men became aggressive towards the officers. Akeel and Aikam were able to detain him and confiscated a loaded firearm that was in his possession, successfully removing a dangerous weapon from the streets.
Police Constable Aikam Hundal, who joined the force in 2021 via Police Now’s neighbourhood policing programme, said: “Thanks to our neighbourhood policing work, both Akeel and I have a strong working knowledge of people within the community, so were able to quickly identify the two individuals while out on patrol. At first, we weren’t aware that one of them had a loaded firearm in his possession – we were just doing our jobs by stopping him. We regularly remove knives and weapons off the street every day, and I am sure any other officer in our position would have acted the same way. Nonetheless, I am honoured to be recognised in the bravery awards alongside Akeel, another Police Now officer within the force. I like to think that Akeel and I, with support from our sergeant, potentially prevented a violent and devastating act by removing a weapon from the streets that night.”
Aikam has now moved from the Bordesley Green Neighbourhood Policing Team to join the Operation Guardian Taskforce on a permanent basis, to continue his work to reduce youth violence in the West Midlands.
Akeel was previously presented with a Birmingham East Commander’s Award and ‘Student Officer of the Year’ in 2022, for his excellent work to reduce under-25s violence in Bordesley Green. He is now a Sergeant on the Aston Neighbourhood Policing Team.
He has helped place several dangerous individuals behind bars – including a number who were responsible for an attempted murder. With support from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, he was instrumental in getting weapon surrender bins installed in the neighbourhood, which helped to recover 43 weapons, and has also worked alongside local schools, community partners, religious establishments, and youth centres to proactively prevent young people being drawn into violent crime.
Police Sergeant Akeel Akhtar said: “This award is testament to Police Now who equip their officers with the skills and qualities necessary to tackle problems that cause our communities most harm, including serious youth violence. It’s a privilege to be the recipient of this award alongside my alumni colleague Aikam.”
Police Sergeant Kiran Patel, an officer who recently completed Police Now’s Frontline Leadership Programme, nominated Akeel and Aikam for the award. He said: “Police Now has really inspired a new generation of neighbourhood officers, Akeel and Aikam have shown that they are committed to reducing crime and building public trust and confidence in diverse communities. They are a real credit to West Midlands Police, and I was proud to nominate them for this prestigious award after hearing about how they put themselves in harm’s way, compromising their own safety and putting the public first.”
The West Midlands Police Federation Bravery Awards took place on Wednesday 31st January. The ceremony was held at The Lord Knights Suite, Tally Ho, Edgbaston. There were seven awards presented at the ceremony, based on each of the geographical areas of the force – Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.