Three Bromley police officers have been awarded for their part in rescuing "vulnerable" residents inside a burning retirement home.

Sergeants Brett Smethurst, James Constable and acting sergeant Brian Doamekpor were given commendations from borough commander Steph Roberts for their "courage, bravery and initiative" after going into a sheltered housing fire last year.

On June 23 2013 an emergency call came in alerting police to a blaze at Charles Darwin House, Bromley, which the three men answered.

Arriving on the scene they were met with distressed residents and staff, who warned there were people still inside.

A police spokesman described: "The officers quickly entered the building in an attempt to locate residents and staff.

"Inside the building, the officers battled their way through smoke filled corridors, not knowing how many residents were still unaccounted for, or where the seat of the fire lay. 

"Quick passage through the building was hampered not only by some locked internal doors, but also due to it being at night with limited lighting."

Despite the dangerous conditions, the policemen were able to find those left behind and lead the occupants to safety.

Inspector Phyllis Rooney praised their efforts, adding: "The fast action and bravery of these officers led to a safe evacuation of staff and residents and the fire being located and contained. 

"The actions of these officers has undoubtedly ensured that there no loss of life or serious injury on this occasion and their selfless approach was commended by colleagues from the London Fire Brigade".

The honours, given at the end of last month, were among 29 awarded by the borough commander, who was leading her last ceremony before stepping down to make way for the new chief Chris Hafford.

She said: "Today we have heard of deeds that do go above and beyond the call of duty".

Other accolades included volunteer cadet James Osborn for "bravery, outstanding public spirit and determination" to ensure that a serious sexual offender was identified and convicted, and a member of the public who helped police arrest a violent suspect.