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Gravesend doorman Phil Campbell calls for more police patrol after gun incident

A doorman who tackled a man who pulled a gun on him has called for a stronger police presence to combat an increase in weapons offences.

Security guard Phil Campbell served with the Royal Logistic Corps in the 2003 invasion of Iraq - but says even his combat experience couldn’t totally prepare him for some of the things he’s seen in Gravesend.

The 35-year-old dad-of-five was working on the door of the Kings Head pub in King Street, when he found himself forced to make a split-second decision that could have potentially meant the difference between life or death.

Police at the scene of the incident
Police at the scene of the incident

“I was on the door, doing my usual duties,” he said.

“At about 1am I was approached by a man who tried to get in and produced a firearm.

"He didn’t really say anything.

“I think he was upset because he’d had a few drinks and was refused entry.

"He produced the firearm and I then grabbed it. I didn’t really think, I just reacted - I went for it.

“I grabbed hold of the gun and held his arms so he couldn’t fire it.”

Mr Campbell’s colleagues then told him to let go of the man, which he did.

"I've had needles pulled on me, and I've had knives pulled on me... you just get used to it" - Phil Campbell

He radioed community officers in the town centre and called the police.

Armed officers were sent to Parrock Street shortly before 1.10am on Saturday, and witnesses reported seeing them around the clock tower area, before police recovered a BB gun from the scene.

The police reportedly told Mr Campbell they couldn’t be sure if he was stupid or brave to taken the action that he did, but he says in the moment, he just wanted to protect the public.

“It wasn’t one of my smartest moves,” he added.

“I actually tried to take it out of his hands. I stopped him from firing it. At the time I didn’t know it was a BB gun.

“My partner is extremely annoyed."

She says 'your actions could have left our children without a father', but I say I was doing my job and trying to protect the public.”

Doorman and security guard Phil Campbell
Doorman and security guard Phil Campbell

The incident follows news last week that the number of people caught in possession of guns and knives has risen by 50% - the latest figures showing there were 159 weapons offences in Dartford and Gravesham in the 12 months to September 2018 - up 47% on the previous 12 month period, when 108 incidents were recorded.

And Mr Campbell said he had also noticed a rise in the number of people carrying weapons.

“People are going round with them more often but you don’t expect it every day,” he said.

“I said to the police I’ve had needles pulled on me, and I’ve had knives pulled on me. You just get used to it.

“People seem to be wanting to arm themselves a bit more because they know they’ll be refused entry or they’re taking weapons with them for self defence.”

And while he praised police for their rapid response, he said the police themselves needed more support.

“We do need more of a police presence in the town centre,” he said.

"We do need more of a police presence in the town centre... I know they’re understaffed" - Phil Campbell

“I know they’re understaffed and they can’t be everywhere.”

And he said being in the army couldn’t fully prepare anyone for the situations he’s faced.

“It does and it doesn’t,” he said.

“You don’t expect stuff like that in civilian life.

"I know my job’s quite dangerous so I’m more prepared for it.

"During my day job I wear a stab vest because of the amount of shoplifters who carry knives so they can get away.

“If they pull out an HIV-infected needle I’m not arguing with them.”

Kerim Ferudun, 34, of Gravesend was charged with possession of an imitation firearm and has been released on bail.

He is due to appear at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, March 12.

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