A former Cherbourg officer has been honoured with a bravery medal.
A former Cherbourg officer has been honoured with a bravery medal. Bev Lacey

Cherbourg officer honoured for brave act

A FORMER Cherbourg police officer has been honoured for his dedication to his duty and the community with a bravery award for his actions more than 20 years ago.

Sergeant Paul Anthony Cox has been recognised for his actions on December 5, 1998 when attending a disturbance with a colleague involving more than 100 people on the street spread across 40 metres.

When the duo arrived on scene rocks and bottles were hurled at the police car and they were unable to get out of the car.

As the two groups of people yelled threats at each other, Senior Constable Cox and his colleague got out of the police car and each headed towards a different group attempting to calm the groups and diffuse the hostile environment.

Then, a man, armed with a shotgun, ran from the back of a nearby house, loading the weapon as he ran.

Without hesitation Senior Constable Cox's colleague ran towards the armed offender who discharged the shotgun.

The officer placed himself between the armed offender and the crowd.

He disarmed the man and secured the shotgun in the police car. 

Later, the same offender reappeared with a rifle and fired two shots towards the angry crowd.

Snr Const Cox's colleague and another man tackled the offender to the ground and the rifle was removed and placed in the police car.

Meanwhile, Snr Const Cox had been surrounded by the crowd with many jostling and pushing him.

A man then swung a punch to the rear of his head.

Despite this he remained calm and continued to reason with the hostile crowd in an attempt to prevent further violence. 

When other police officers then arrived on the scene the decision was made to withdraw for safety reasons. 

For his actions Sergeant Cox was one of 74 Australians to be honoured with bravery awards on August 18, 2019 by Governor General David Hurley for acts of courage, selflessness and sacrifice.

"Australian Bravery Awards recognise and celebrate Australians who, faced with a dangerous or perilous situation, think not of themselves or their own safety but about others,” Mr Hurley said.

"These individuals deserve our admiration - they are an inspiration and examples of the sort of selfless sacrifice that we can all aspire to.”