The awards, held as part of the ACPO conference in Manchester, recognised outstanding acts of courage by members of the public for their selfless actions in helping victims of crime.
Honorary Awards Secretary Chief Constable David Crompton said "every day, somewhere in the UK, people put themselves in harm's way in order to aid others who are vulnerable or at risk - and that's not always just police officers."
"These nationwide awards are a chance for the police service to thank those public-spirited men, women and youngsters who've helped their communities to face up to the threat that crime brings," he said.
"The Police Public Bravery Awards do not exist to encourage people to place themselves in danger, but they do represent the opportunity, once a year, for police to pay tribute to those in the community, who no doubt consider themselves to be ordinary people and yet have performed extraordinary acts of bravery.
"These acts are a true expression of public spirit and courage. They show that the famous quote from Robert Peel, the father of modern policing, is alive and well - `The police are the public and the public are the police.'"
This year's award recipients come from across 18 force areas. A total of 28 awards were given out tonight - seven gold and 21 silver awards. Another 24 people were commended for their bravery and will be awarded at ceremonies by their local force at another time.
For the first time the Binney Medal, the highest overall accolade, was awarded to two recipients this year due to the calibre of nominations.
Those honoured were Colin Thomas, who was shot in the stomach while trying to prevent five men from taking £70,000 worth of jewellery from a store in Croydon; and student Ben Hudson, who was stabbed while trying to prevent a fellow pupil being attacked at his school in the West Midlands. The victim, a 14-year-old school girl was stabbed 11 times in the attack by her ex-boyfriend who was later jailed for 13 years.
Those force areas with award recipients (including commendations) include:
Avon and Somerset, British Transport Police, Cheshire, City of London, Cumbria, Essex, Greater Manchester Police, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Merseyside, Metropolitan Police, North Wales, Northumbria, South Wales, West Midlands, West Yorkshire and Lothian and Borders.