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Brave and outstanding people recognised at Force Awards

Brave, caring, outstanding and diligent acts by police officers, staff and members of the public were recognised at the Chief Constable’s Awards ceremony.

The event took place at Clevedon Hall in Elton Road last week (March 14) and was attended by award winners, their families and friends.

Chief Constable’s Commendations, Royal Humane Society awards and Angela Yeoman awards were handed out by Chief Constable Andy Marsh QPM and special guests – High Sheriff of Somerset Denis Burn Esq; Angela Yeoman OBE DL and the Police Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens.

Read about the award winners:

Lee Watts and Paul Le Marechal were awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Testimonial on Vellum – the highest honour you can be given from the RHS.

Lee and Paul were on a dual carriageway on August 3 last year when they witnessed a head on collision between a car and a lorry. The car, which contained a man and his 11-year-old daughter, burst into flames. Without thought Lee and Paul left their own cars and went into the burning wreckage and pulled the man and his daughter free. Fuel was spilling everywhere from the car and the risk of being engulfed themselves or caught in an explosion was so very high. It’s difficult to describe the level of danger they placed themselves in. Lee and Paul showed tremendous courage and bravery that day and they saved the lives of the victims as a result.

PC Ziyad Asfour was awarded Royal Humane Society’s Resuscitation Certificate.

High Sheriff of Somerset Denis Burn Esq and PC Ziyad Asfour

On June 19 last year PC Asfour was the first on the scene to reports of a disturbance involving a woman in the street. On arrival PC Asfour found a woman visibly upset, shaking and on the phone in the street. While trying to calm and reassure her, the woman explained that she had visited her brother’s address and found him unconscious after trying to take his own life. PC Asfour went into the address and found the man with no pulse. And started CPR while his colleague called for an ambulance. PC Asfour did CPR until paramedics arrived and as a result the man started to breathe again and was stabilised.

PCSO Tony McIntosh was awarded a Royal Humane Society’s Resuscitation Certificate for saving the life of a two-year-old who was choking on a sweet.

High Sheriff Denis Burn Esq and PCSO Tony McIntosh

Tony was on duty travelling on a bus on October 5 last year when he saw a woman had abandoned her car on the road and was struggling with an unresponsive toddler. PCSO McIntosh stopped the bus and rushed to help the woman, taking command of the situation. Tony realised that the child was struggling to breathe and had a blocked airway. An ambulance has been called but was far away. It was clear to PCSO McIntosh that he only had few minutes to get the child breathing or she would die. He administered first aid, dislodging a sweet from the child’s airway which allowed her to breath. The ambulance crew was updated, but at this point they still weren’t near the scene. PCSO McIntosh cared for the child and made sure she was stable until the paramedics arrived. The child was then taken to hospital where she was checked over and finally made a full recovery.

PCSO Brian Harris and PC Matthew Lloyd were awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Resuscitation Certificates.

High Sheriff Denis Burn Esq and PCSO Brian Harris and PC Matthew Lloyd

PCSO Harris was on solo patrol on November 11 and was walking through a multi storey car park in Bath when he found two women who were taking drugs in a stairwell. One of the women became ill in front of PCSO Harris, collapsing, turning pale, with her lips going blue. PCSO Harris immediately radioed for medical assistance and asked the other woman to help, but she panicked and ran down the stairs. Alone, PCSO Harris immediately started CPR, working relentlessly until a colleague arrived. PC Matthew Lloyd continued the CPR for some time until paramedics arrived. They managed to get the woman breathing properly again and she regained full consciousness. The woman, who was six months pregnant, then became abusive and challenging while under the influence of the drugs. PCSO Harris, PC Lloyd and others then had to take control in a different way to safely restrain the female and help paramedics to get the lady into the ambulance and to hospital in the safest and quickest way possible. Thankfully, because of their actions in saving the ladies life, she recovered, and gave birth to a little boy.

PC Dave Garbett was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Resuscitation Certificate for saving the life of a woman in mental health crisis.

High Sheriff of Somerset Denis Burn Esq and PC Dave Garbett

On April 8 last year they found her in a country lane with a ligature round her neck, not breathing, had turned blue, and her pupils were unresponsive. PC Garbett cut removed the ligature and started CPR and after some time the woman started to breathe again. The officers who attended covered the woman in a blanket, kept her warm and calm until the ambulance arrived, where she was immediately taken to a hospital. Without the dedication and quick actions of PC Garbett the woman would have most certainly died.

Megan Brunt is a call handler in the Police Control Room who received a Royal Humane Society’s Certificate of Commendation for saving the life of a young woman in mental health crisis.

High Sheriff of Somerset Denis Burn Esq and Megan Brunt

On April 2018 Megan was working a late shift when at around 10pm she received a call reporting a very vulnerable young missing woman. She had been taken to hospital having self-harmed and was at a high risk of suicide. Megan completed the call and it was sent for police deployment in the usual way. At the end of her late shift, Megan started her journey home and as she passed a motorway overbridge, Megan noticed a woman looking over the side. Megan recognised the woman as the high risk missing person whose details she took earlier. Police were called and Megan approached the young woman to engage in a conversation, but she was in a distressed state and refused to talk to Megan to begin with. Nevertheless, Megan was persistent and started to get a response. The young woman was crying and distressed. Megan slowly, patiently and confidently started to build a rapport with her and keep her talking as she was hanging over the barrier towards the motorway and the flowing traffic. The efforts Megan made and the caring she showed while distracting the vulnerable young woman gave enough time for police officers to attend, and at the right moment detain the young woman for her own safety.Megan saved the life of this young girl through courage, composure and a great deal of caring.

DC Victoria Edwards and DC Philip Hockey were awarded a Crown Court Commendation.

High Sheriff of Somerset Denis Burn Esq, DC Victoria Edwards and DC Philip Hockey

They were assigned a historical sexual offence case involving a teacher affecting young victims aged between 9 and 13 for over a 10 year period. After one of the victims came forward many years later to report the offences, both officers worked extremely hard to bring the offender to justice. In the hearing of this case His Honourable Judge Cook stated: “It was quite apparent from my reading of this case that it had been very carefully, sensitively and thoroughly put together and for that reason these two officers; Victoria Edwards and Philip Hockey should be commended for their conduct of a very difficult and traumatic investigations.”

PCSO Dominique Whitemore, James De-Vanney and Dan Borrett were awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Resuscitation Certificate.

PCSO Dominique Whitemore, High Sheriff of Somerset Denis Burn Esq, Dan Borrett and James De-Vanney

PCSO Whitemore had only recently completed her training when on July22 2018, she attended a local charity football tournament. A referee collapsed on the ground and it quickly became very clear that the situation was serious and the man was having seizure. PCSO Whitemore with members of the public James De-Vanney and Dan Borrett, ran over to the man who had lost his pulse as he came out of the seizure. Dominique began CPR, giving instructions to James and Dan as the three of them took turns in giving chest compressions. The man’s pulse returned and faded again multiple times and they continued resuscitating for well over 30 minutes until paramedics arrived and took over. Eventually the man was stabilised and airlifted to hospital where he recovered.

DC Mark White was awarded a Crown Court Commendation.

High Sheriff of Somerset Denis Burn Esq and DC Mark White

Mark was assigned a case of sexual abuse in which an original investigation resulted in the Crown Prosecution Service taking no further action and DC White took it upon himself to overturn this decision. This case involved very vulnerable victims who needed safeguarding and DC White worked hard in giving them the support and reassurance for them to testify in Court. Mark’s tenacity and determination to get justice for the victims was exceptional. It meant that this case was again brought before the Court where previous investigations had failed. The offender was convicted and received 13 years in prison.

DC Max Priestley was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Resuscitation Certificate for saving the life of a neighbour who had collapsed.

High Sheriff of Somerset Denis Burn Esq and DC Max Priestley

On July 25 in 2017 DC Max Priestley was at home with his family when a neighbour banged on the door and said her husband had collapsed. Initially the man was still breathing so Max placed him into the recovery position while the man’s wife called 999. However, the man started to turn purple. DC Priestley quickly cleared the man’s airway and started CPR. He continued until the paramedics arrived and took over. The man was then conveyed to hospital where he made a full recovery.

PCSO Sue Thompson and Tom Salvidge received the Royal Humane Society’s Certificate of Commendation for their role in saving the life of a man who was in mental health crisis.

High Sheriff of Somerset Denis Burn Esq and PCSO Sue Thompson and Tom Salvidge

On August 17 last year a man called the police to say he was going to take his own life. The nearest available patrol unit was a significant distance away and the closest officer was a PCSO Sue Thompson.Sue had 15 minutes left of her shift when she was called. She was given details of the man’s location; however, as she wasn’t certain how to get there, she approached a local farm where she met Tom Salvidge. Tom was familiar with the location and knew that it is not easily accessibly so he offered to drive Sue there on his 4×4. PCSO Thompson managed to rescue the man and called for Tom to help her. Thanks to Sue’s and Tom’s actions the man survived this incident but sadly took his life six months later.

Robert Killen was awarded the Waley Cohen award for his work as a volunteer Chair of the Constabulary Rural Crime Forum.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh QPM and Robert Killen

Prior to that he was the vice chair of the forum and was also a founding member. The aim of the forum is to work with communities who earn their living from the land but also sadly as a result are also vulnerable to particular types of crime. This coupled with the sometimes isolation and complexities of running business can make life very difficult for some of our rural communities. Robert has exhibited the force values; he is courageous in making a public stand against criminals, often appearing in the media. He has sought to be inclusive, ensuring that those with mental health complexities or people who belong to groups with protected characteristics, such as the Gay Farmers Association, are included. He has helped the Constabulary learn to be better at assisting the rural community by championing specific difficulties such a fly tipping and fraud associated with annual payments and above all he has cared with a passion that shines through for vulnerable people and the countryside.

PCSO Gary Maule was given the Angela Yeoman Award for his work setting up and running a diversionary and educational programme for young people in Shepton Mallet.

PCSO Gary Maule and Angela Yeoman OBE DL

He came up with an idea to use the local shut down prison to educate young people on the fringes of becoming involved in anti-social or criminal behaviour. Gary’s programme sees the pupils go on day visit to the prison where they get a feel for what it is like to be “processed” as a prisoner. The idea is to show the reality and put children off ever having to go through it in real life. The feedback that followed was so positive that the programme was opened up for all pupils to apply. It had an overwhelming amount of applicants. The amount of work prior to the school’s visit that Gary does is astonishing. Gary’s programme became very popular in his area and he now has all the middle schools in Frome interested, as well as schools from Shepton Mallet, Wells and Radstock.

High Sheriff of Somerset Denis Burn Esq said: “All the award winners and their friend and families should be feeling really proud because they have been recognised properly for something truly outstanding.”

Chief Constable Andy Marsh QPM said: “I think what is most gratifying of all is seeing the pride in the eyes of the families and friends of those people when they are recognised for their achievements.”

Police Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “It was a room full of extraordinary people. I’m very humbled and privileged to have listened to the stories. These people went above and beyond and the awards provide an important opportunity to reflect and celebrate.”