An unarmed police officer who tackled a knifeman to protect members of the public in St Albans has been recognised for his bravery at a national awards ceremony.

PC Carl Callan, who at the time of the incident was part of the Intervention and Response Team, was on patrol on June 2, 2015, when a call came saying a man was in possession of a knife in Hatfield Road.

Due to the nature of the incident, it was decided that unarmed officers would only intervene if lives were in danger.

PC Callan arrived on the scene to find the man attacking members of the public with a knife - in fact, he had already tried to stab one person in the chest but was unsuccessful because of the victim’s thick padded coat.

In a split second, PC Callan made the decision to challenge the attacker.

With the help of members of the public he managed to detain the man, who was found to be carrying a number of knives, until firearms officers arrived to assist.

Fortunately no members of the public were seriously injured during the incident.

Anthony Zambra, aged 40, of Watford Road, St Albans, was arrested.

He pleaded guilty at St Albans Crown Court to GBH, threats to kill and possession of bladed articles, and was sentenced to three years in prison.

PC Callan, who has since moved to the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit, said: “I was just doing the job I am trained to do and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

“I’m so proud to be a police officer and I am overwhelmed to receive this recognition.”

PC Callan was a South East finalist in the National Police Bravery Awards and received his gong at the prestigious event in London yesterday (Thursday).

Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: “PC Carl Callan showed tremendous bravery and put the safety of the public before his own.

“Without his intervention many more people could have been injured but thankfully PC Callan managed to stop the violence and detain the offender until other officers arrived to assist.

“This recognition is well deserved and I am extremely proud of our frontline officers who put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis to protect the public.”