A courageous cop who won an award for single-handedly stepping in to stop a gang beating up a defenceless man is spearheading a police recruitment drive.
Mum-of-three Clare Larkey-Jones, 48, was alone after coming off duty one evening when she broke up the attack on the Maes in Caernarfon, an act that has seen her honoured at a reception at 10, Downing Street.
She said: “I had just finished an 11-hour shift and was picking my brother and his girlfriend up in at The Maes in Caernarfon before going home when I heard a lot of shouting.
“I told my brother to stay in the car and I walked over and a gang of lads were picking on a young man in his 20s.
“They were like a pack of wild animals and started beating him up. They stopped when I came over but then they started again.
“I just went on auto-pilot and got hold of the ring-leader, shouted at them and pulled him off before they ran away and then called the police and ambulance.”
PC Larkey-Jones was speaking as North Wales Police launched its latest drive to recruit more officers.
The window for applications is open from August 18 to August 29 and details can be found on the North Wales Police website www.northwales.police.uk
The case ended up at Caernarfon Crown Court where the trial heard that PC Clare Larkey-Jones grabbed gang leader Callum Lee Davies “mid punch”.
Davies was jailed for the attack and PC Larkey-Jones’s bravery was praised by Judge Nicola Jones who said: “Thankfully, PC Clare Larkey-Jones, who was off duty that evening, with no thought for her own safety, clearly thinking only of restoring order, intervened.
“She got in the middle of all of all of these men who were behaving violently.
“She very clearly and robustly sent everybody on their way.”
Her actions also earned PC Larkey-Jones and her husband, electrical engineer Gareth, a trip to London and a nomination for a Police Federation Bravery Award.
Recalling the incident, she added: “I just knew there was something not right going on there and I thought if that was one of my boys getting beaten up I would like to think that someone would do the same as I did. I honestly didn’t think anything of it at the time.
“I just don’t like to see people being bullied. My husband asked me why I did it and it was because it was the right thing to do.”
Even stepping into harm’s way like that has never made PC Larkey-Jones, from Nefyn, near Pwllheli, regret joining the force where she now works with vulnerable victims of rape as a Sexual Offences Liaison Officer on North Wales Police’s dedicated Amethyst Team.
Before that she spent 22 years in uniform on frontline policing in Gwynedd, joining up at 25 after gaining a BA in Criminology at Bangor University to help her application to join the force.
She’s still out of uniform now on the Amethyst team where she is enjoying the new role and PC Larkey-Jones, who volunteered with Women’s Aid as a student, said: “We deal with rapes and serious sexual assaults – the detective deals with the suspect and I deal and support the victim.
“I will have been on the team for two years in October and it’s my job to build a rapport with the victims and conduct video interviews.
“They are telling you about things that are very personal and can be very embarrassing and sometimes these are incidents which go back 20 years or more which are quite horrific and which they may never have told anyone about before.
“It’s about spending time with a victim, having long conversations with them and being able to help them – in the end you just hope you’ve been able to make a difference.
“Often they are known to the victim because these attacks are happening in the home, within the marriage or relationship or even on a date.
“When the victim goes to court, we go with them and support them – it’s a vital part of the work of the Amethyst team.”
It’s a new challenge for Clare who said: “I’ve always enjoyed the variety of being a police officer, every single day is different and I’ve always enjoyed coming into work and made so many friends.
“I like being out and dealing with the public and I really enjoyed being on response and dealing with everything from road traffic accidents to assaults and all the variety of things we get asked to handle and being with Amethyst is very worthwhile too.
“It’s also been a flexible job and allowed me to be part-time while my children were growing up but I was always ready to do weekends and really the years have passed in a blur.
“I have missed several family celebrations, birthdays and had to work late and on Christmas day etc, but the police is a 24-7 job, we can’t close because it’s a Bank Holiday.”
Chief Superintendent Sian Beck said: “This is a 24-hour service so we don’t work 9 to 5. You don’t always go home when you want to and you’re not always at home when your family are celebrating bank holidays.
“You do see people when they are at their most vulnerable and in the worst time of their lives and that can be upsetting.
“However, on the flip side, being a police officer is the most amazing career with a host of different opportunities.
“Like Clare, you can have a really long and successful career as a patrol officer, building up a wealth of experience and knowledge of the communities we serve.
“If you prefer you can go for a whole range of specialisms. The opportunities are endless and you can have a whole range of careers within the police.
“Whichever route you choose, you’ll be working with some incredible colleagues and making a real difference to people’s lives on a daily basis
“It’s a massive responsibility but also a great privilege.”
For more details about how to apply go to www.northwales.police.uk