This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Norman Brennan was a serving police officer in London, England who retired in 2009 after 31 years service, in which time he was awarded 9 commendations for bravery and outstanding police work. His roles included frontline policing, shield unit, advanced police response driving and Criminal Investigation Department for 14 years. For six years he worked on the robbery squad covering North London.
Early in Brennan's career, in 1982, whilst arresting three pickpockets, he received serious head injuries and was admitted to intensive care. He spent ten days in hospital and underwent an operation to rebuild damage to his nose. Over the next three years he underwent two further reconstructive operations and was off work for a year recovering. Having fully recovered, he returned to frontline duties. However, only a week later, on his last day in uniform, he assisted colleagues in the Metropolitan Police by chasing an armed burglar at 3am. Brennan was the first to apprehend the burglar, but because it was dark he did not see a knife which very nearly cost him his life when the burglar stabbed him in the chest.
Brennan was rushed to hospital where he received treatment in the A&E department. The following day, the surgeon overseeing his treatment told his chief constable that the knife that he was stabbed with had hit a rib and deflected downwards. Had it gone the other way he would have died. After another ten days in hospital and three and half months off sick, he again returned to frontline duties. This time, however, with less enthusiasm and considering whether he should remain in the police force.
He decided to continue his career but did not want any colleague to go through the types of assault and consequences that he had. He therefore launched a campaign group called "Protect the Protectors", calling for better protection for all frontline police officers. In doing so he held a press conference and was a regular contributor to all sections of the national media on police protection issues. He was also regularly stopped by victims of crime and the public who were impressed with his views on law and order and urged him to speak up for them too. To this end he also set up a charity called the Victims of Crime Trust which gave a voice for victims of crime and specialised in helping families bereaved through murder or manslaughter.
The positions held by Brennan allowed him to obtain a huge following and support from frontline police officers, victims of crime and the public alike. His first hand experience of dealing with victims of crime, the general public, criminals and the judiciary gave him a wealth of first hand experience and knowledge of what he spoke about.
Reactions to his work
There were those in the higher echelons of the Police Federation, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Home Office who were not impressed with a frontline police officer who was so outspoken and seen by rank and file officers to be doing the job of their official organisations.
In Brennan's defence, when he first started campaigning 44,000 police officers gave him their support and many continued to send him emails and phone him encouraging him not to give up. Police Review (the widest read police newspaper) described Brennan as probably being the best known face and voice in British policing and said that "Protect the Protectors" was the primary reason the government of the day reversed its policy on issuing police officers with a side-handled baton which had been originally refused.
Brennan was the founder and director of Victims of Crime Trust, registered as a charity in 1994. The trust failed to submit returns to the Charity Commission from 2005 onwards, and its registration was removed in 2010 on the grounds that it had "ceased to exist".
- Charity Commission Register: 1032867 - VICTIMS OF CRIME TRUST
- Jason Bennetto, "Police anger over `irritating' constable loved by the media", The Independent (London), 18 October 2003
- "The changing face of policing", BBC News, 26 April 2005
- Norman Brennan, "Crime is the terror we must tackle", Sunday Telegraph, 28 November 2004
- "Calls for jury law reforms", BBC News, 18 September 2002