TWO police officers have spoken for the first time of the terrifying moment they were attacked by a drug-fuelled, knife-wielding maniac on Princes Street.
PC Paul Weatherston and PC Iain Reid were on uniformed patrol when they received a report about a man with blood on his face. When they tried to help him, he pulled out a three-inch knife from his sock and lashed out at them.
The officers felled the attacker with a Taser amid fears he would run into crowds of people, but he continued to grapple with them on the ground – stabbing PC Weatherston three times on his left shoulder.
“It was a shock,” said PC Weatherston. “Your mind is going a hundred miles an hour, thinking about how you’re going to negate the threat and stop that person.
“I suppose what made it worse was the fact that we were going to help someone, we were fully intending to give him first aid, and those circumstances just flipped around so quickly.”
PC Weatherston, who was left with nerve problems down his left hand after the attack in July 2014, added: “At the end of the day, Iain and I were doing our jobs and we’ll do it again if we need to.”
Both officers were honoured last night at the Scottish Police Federation Police Bravery Awards, where they were praised by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.
“At the time, Paul didn’t even realise he’d been stabbed, with all the adrenaline,” said PC Reid.
“It wasn’t until we had him under control that Paul said to me, ‘I think he’s caught me’, which was a bit of an understatement because all the blood was running down his arm.”
The duo were among 12 police officers from across Scotland recognised at the second annual awards, honouring officers who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.
Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “PC Weatherston and PC Reid acted admirably in a situation that would be most people’s worst nightmare. Their courage and quick-thinking helped resolve a confrontation that could have ended very differently.
“Their training, skills and decisive actions brought what could have been a dangerous and distressing situation for passers-by in a very busy tourist area to a swift and safe conclusion.”
The officers attended a parliamentary reception followed by an evening awards ceremony.
Mr Matheson said: “These awards allow us all to recognise the bravery of the individual officers and I commend each and every one of them for going above and beyond the call of duty to protect the public.”