Officers who captured Christchurch terrorist attack suspect awarded for their bravery

Source: 1News

The two officers involved in the capture and arrest of the alleged gunman behind the Christchurch terrorist attack have been awarded for their bravery.

The pair have been made recipients of the 2019 New Zealand Police Association Bravery Award, which was presented by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a private ceremony during the association's 84th annual conference in Wellington today, the New Zealand Police Association said in a statement.

Officers A and B, as they are being referred to while their names are currently suppressed by the court, said they they are extremely proud to have been given the award, which was nominated by their colleagues.

The pair acknowledged their colleagues, fellow first responders and the public for their courageous actions on March 15, which saw 51 people lose their lives in attacks at Al Noor and Linwood mosques.

"We were doing our job and were part of a huge and focused operation which resulted in the arrest of the alleged gunman," the officers said. "In doing our job we represented all police staff around the country who put themselves in harm's way every day. This includes those who have gone before us who set the bar high for the rest of us to meet."

Officers A and B said they have been long-time friends who had complete faith in each other's abilities to do their job.

"We have known each other for many years, including playing many games of rugby together, and had total trust in each other's abilities, and total faith that the other would do their job and continue to go forward regardless of what we encountered."

The officers said that their families "are truly proud of what we were able to do, and that has helped tremendously in the past months".

They added that they were proud of the way New Zealanders "united as a nation that rejects such abhorrent views and actions that were behind this atrocity", while paying tribute to the lives which were lost.

"To those families who were torn apart by this event, through death or injury, our hearts go out to you all. As officers our job is to keep New Zealanders safe so when we can't do that, it cuts deep."

Police Association President Chris Cahill said all police staff are incredibly proud of the courageous actions of their two colleagues.

"All officers wonder how they would respond when faced with a split-second decision to risk their lives," Mr Cahill said. "These two officers have answered that question by responding with outstanding bravery which protected many others from further harm.

"I am sure all New Zealanders will join the association in thanking these officers for their truly courageous actions."