Police officers and civilian staff acclaimed at Barnstaple awards night for saving lives, standing fast and going above and beyond for North Devon
A busy year of saving lives and keeping people from harm has been reflected by the annual North Devon police awards.
The North and West Devon LPA (Local Policing Authority) awards at Barnstaple Guildhall on Wednesday saw numerous officers and their civilian comrades receive accolades for stepping in to save life, dedication to duty and going above and beyond for their community.
Before presenting many of the awards, Superintendent Toby Davies said: “Policing has had a challenging few years but what’s so impressive is there is still such inspiring work taking place.
“What makes North and West Devon so special is every single person who patrols this area lives and works here. I think we are very, very lucky with the people we have got.”
The awards were held before officers, family and friends plus dignitaries including the host, the mayor of Barnstaple, Julie Hunt, along with visiting mayors and civic guests.
Certificates of service were also presented to retiring inspectors Roger Bartlett and Ian Dawson by the Devon Commander, Chief Superintendent Jim Colwell.
The following recipients were presented with the Commander’s Certificate -
PC Andrew Colley for going the extra mile to produce excellent results. Between August and December 2016 he investigated 50 crimes, with 34 different people charged or reported to court as a result. He always volunteers for jobs and assists other teams.
PC Andrew Palmer showed ‘resilience, bravery and determination’ to successfully negotiate with a distressed woman whop was holding two knives to her throat. Andrew used a caring approach to form a rapport with her and convince her to give up the knives peacefully, avoiding a potentially fatal incident.
Braunton teenagers Samuel Denham and Bradley Williams received the Good Citizen award for their quick actions in helping to find a suicidal man near Saunton who had stabbed himself with a combat knife. Their local knowledge and willingness to take risks was crucial to the situation. READ Bradely and Samuel’s full story here.
Sergeant Andy Peel for being ‘an outstanding team leader dedicated to the work of the organisation and to supporting his team’.
Sgt Peel has driven the police and fire community support officer scheme, which received praise from the Prime Minister. He was described as an ‘outstanding supervisor’ and held in extremely high regards by his colleagues.
Above and beyond
PC Anna Fielding was voted unanimously as B Section’s Officer of the Year. Colleagues describe her as “always cheerful with a ‘can do’ attitude which rubs off on others, always willing to help, takes on way more than her pay grade, someone who shows compassion and who never shies away from work.”
She organises social and charitable events, while on the beat, during the Christmas Drink Drive Campaign she carried out more stop checks than any other officer.
Ilfracombe PCSO Karen Grant provides a ‘truly exceptional’ contribution to her team and the community. She goes above and beyond and for the last three years has run the widely acclaimed Out of the Blue cadet scheme.
Karen has been nominated for her second Royal Humane Society resuscitation certificate in two years after performing CPR on a lady who had stopped breathing.
The Diversion and Support Team was created to support people and help keep them away from reoffending. They have helped 50 individuals directly, with two thirds of them so far not reoffending. They have also been able to reduce the number of frequent callers who contact the emergency services.
The citation reads: ‘The team has achieved notable individual results as well as significant demand reductions. This is testament to the dedication and determination of officers and their ability to think ethically ‘outside of the box’.
Professionalism and dedication
PC Dave Buck is highly experienced and has dedicated his career to frontline uniformed policing. He is described as always helpful and provides excellent advice and support to younger colleagues.
He offered ‘fantastic support’ to a female colleague who was assaulted on duty, helping before and after her return to work. Over Christmas he worked busy shifts, often working alone.
Detective Constable Jane Dyer was honoured for her professionalism and dedication to duty. She has worked on several large scale drugs cases from covert operations to large scale operations tackling local high priority targets.
A highly respected national barrister, Kennan Siva, praised her evidence in court as the most professional he had ever seen and crucial in securing a conviction.
Helping young people
Detective Sergeant Neil Young, Detective Constable John Crewe and Louise Southworth were honoured for service to the community and innovation.
They set up the Bridge Project in South Molton to help children with behavioural problems steer away from crime or danger.
It was a great success and proved a hit with their young charges too.
A credit to her profession
Senior mental health practitioner Melanie Pirrie is on secondment from the Devon Partnership Trust and was honoured for an outstanding contribution to helping those with mental health issues.
She has a cheerful disposition, a ‘can do’ attitude and gains the trust of her clients, going in to bat for them against other agencies if need be to ensure they get the help they need.
PCs Daniel Oliver and Warrick Lansdell were hailed for bravery and team work after preventing a suicidal man from falling from a local bridge.
The man had been drinking liquid morphine and attempted to climb the bridge wall, but was quickly prevented by the pair and given first aid care before being taken to hospital.
Their citation said the duo undoubtedly saved him from death or serious injury.
The entire North Devon Public Protection Unit was honoured for its work managing high risk investigations and offenders during the past year.
Cases have ranged from child cruelty, manslaughter and sexual offending towards children.
They have dealt with nine child deaths, including attending forensic post mortems, initial investigation and longer term support for bereaved families.
Dedicated victim support
PC Rochelle Andrews often goes the extra mile and volunteered to become a sexual offences liaison officer in 2012 in addition to her normal workload.
Since joining the Sexual Offence and Domestic Abuse Investigation Team she has continued to use this skill, supporting more than 20 victims of rape and serious sexual assault at any one time.
This includes supporting those at the first report, throughout the investigation and through to the conclusion of the case.
Driving offenders put away
Sergeant Rob Kelland and PC Rod Lomas are the Serious Collision Investigation Team for North Devon. Over the last four years they have dealt with more than 360 road traffic collisions, of which 32 were fatal.
Both have been meticulous in their investigation and commitment to supporting victims and families at some of the darkest moments of their lives. They have attended every court hearing, ensuring the Crown Prosecution Service have all the necessary evidence and material to prosecute.
As a result of their efforts they have secured 35 years of prison sentences, with offenders being disqualified for more than 70 years.
Quick action saves life
PCs Anthony Russell, Andrew White and Daniel Oliver acted quickly to find a man in Barnstaple reported as being suicidal, having just attempted to jump out of a moving car and thrown his mobile phone away.
They found him on the Taw Bridge, apparently about to fall and worked swiftly to physically pull him to safety. Their citations reads: ‘Had it not been for their actions on that day, the male would almost have certainly taken his own life’.
The man was admitted to hospital for long term care.
‘Character shines through’
PC Sarah Wrey is one of the longest-serving members of North Devon’s A Section and is highly rated as an officer.
She has impressed control room staff with her positive attitude and the fact she often calls them to say she is enroute to an incident they had not even had the chance to assign resources to.
Sarah consistently performs to a high standard and offers her experience and knowledge to younger colleagues and is described as ‘an outstanding officer’.
Three decades of service
Detective Sergeant Simon Butler is described as one of the busiest DS at Barnstaple CID and yet always approachable.
Colleagues often seek him out for advice and he has mentored numerous officers over the years.
He is due to retire this year after 30 years of service but is still enthusiastic, committed and a role model to others.
Special Constable of the Year
Tully Hills has completed the most recorded hours worked in North Devon for the Special Constabulary.
He has been promoted to Specials Sergeant and is well liked and respected by his colleagues, going over and above to support policing in North Devon.
Since joining 15 months ago he has impressed with his enthusiasm, attitude and professionalism. As report by PC Dave Buck paid tribute to his calm and professional manner while dealing with a drunken and volatile man in Bideford, spending several hours at hospital with him yet staying long beyond his allotted shift to finish the paperwork.