A PRESTIGIOUS medal has been presented to a police officer who helped 230 people to safety when a building came under gun fire.
Detective Chief Inspector Ally Wright is currently seconded to the European Police Mission (EUPOL) in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he is heading an international programme to train local police officers.
In September 2011 the EUPOL HQ came under indirect attack from insurgents who used rocket propelled grenades and automatic firearms to attack nearby buildings.
DCI Wright, from Woodford Halse, helped lead the 230 men and women working at EUPOL to a bunker as the insurgents, based only 600 yards away, continued their attack.
The fighting went on for 14 hours in what has been described as a “serious, life- threatening, hostile war environment” which included relentless explosions and the sound of automatic gunfire overhead.
Inside the bunker DCI Wright helped for prayer rooms, sanitation, medical facilities and emergency rations to be made available.
He also helped to keep the workforce informed and updated about what was happening outside throughout the attack despite a multitude of different languages being spoken by the representatives of 23 different countries.
The attack eventually came to an end when members of the Special Forces killed nine insurgents. During the attack 40 people were killed and a large number injured.
DCI Wright, who works for Warwickshire Police, received a prestigious Silver Medal from the head of the EUPOL policing mission for his outstanding leadership during the attack.
He said: “I had just sat down to start a meeting when I heard gunfire followed by a massive explosion, I cannot begin to explain in words how loud the noise was.
“Not only could I hear the noise I could see missiles flying over our heads. At some points I had to grab Afghan nationals from their office and push them in the direction of the bunker.
“Inside the bunker I could see people were terrified. The Afghan women inparticular were shaking, some were in tears.”
Speaking about the award Gillian Reece, head of rule of law with the British Embassy in Kabul, said: “As leader of the police team I am very proud of how Ally conducted himself and represented British policing.”
Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Andy Parker added: “Ally is a professional and greatly respected officer with Warwickshire Police and has a distinguished police service.
“It almost goes without saying that his work with the European police mission in Afghanistan would be equally exemplary and we are all very proud to learn that his brave actions have been justly recognised.”
DCI Wright will be returning to the UK next week to receive a commendation from the Chief Constable.