A team of officers whose quick thinking actions saved the life of a man in a Bristol park and a member of the public who bravely stepped in to stop a dog attack on a young girl in Radstock were among those recognised at the Avon and Somerset Force Awards ceremony on Tuesday 5 April.
Recipients were presented with awards in front of their friends and family, which was attended by Chief Constable Sarah Crew, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Shelford, and High Sheriff of Bristol, Jennifer Duke.
Chief Constable Sarah Crew said: “These awards provide an important opportunity to recognise and celebrate exceptional investigative work, outstanding dedication to duty and extraordinary acts of bravery.
“The stories behind the awards are simply inspiring. At the heart of policing is a desire to make a difference and it is clear that our winners have gone above and beyond to do exactly that. I am proud to work alongside them.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford said: “It was a privilege to be able to attend this award ceremony, which importantly recognises courageous officers.
“I do not underestimate the commitment and dedication from these officers who go above and beyond to keep local people and communities safe. A massive thank you for all the work you do.”
Award winners are listed below (some winners have requested not to be named).
Chief Constable’s Commendation
For significant personal courage or significant initiative and/or commitment in the execution of duty far and beyond what should normally be expected.
DC Melanie Downton
DC Melanie Downton was responsible for overseeing an investigation after a young girl disclosed to school staff in early 2020 that she had been sexually abused by a man. She built up a solid rapport with the victim and was able to put a safety plan in place for further individuals after identifying a potential safeguarding risk to them.
Following a thorough investigation, a charge was secured against the suspect at the end of March 2021. He was bailed and subsequently refused to attend court hearings, resulting in a manhunt to locate him involving three police forces in late 2021.
In December 2021, the suspect was tried at Bristol Crown Court and found guilty of six counts of sexual abuse, including rape. He received a 20-year custodial sentence, an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
PCSO Supervisor Sharon Baker
Alongside her full time role as a PCSO Supervisor, Sharon Baker has coordinated Operation Habit, aimed at reducing violent crime in Somerset West. Her dedication to this task has contributed hugely to a fantastic result of a 40 per cent drop in violent crime.
Sharon has also successfully bid for extra funding towards operational work aimed at deterring young people away from crime.
DI Daniel Rowan, DI Will Thorpe and PC Ross Calderwood
In March 2021, concern was raised for the welfare of a woman and two children and all parties were subsequently recorded as missing persons.
The case was reviewed and overseen by DI Daniel Rowan and DI Will Thorpe, whose work paved the way for skilled intelligence analysis by PC Ross Calderwood, who managed to trace a vehicle believed to be of interest to our enquiries.
Sadly the bodies of the woman and one child were later found at a residential address in Scotland and a man has been charged following their deaths. The second child reported missing was traced and taken into the care of police.
Royal Humane Society Award
A national award for acts of bravery while saving human life, or in attempt to do so
PC Adam Jones
PC Adam Jones is one of nine officers recognised for their efforts to save a man’s life in December 2020.
Officers were called to a park in Bristol after a report was received regarding concern for the welfare of a young man who had been sighted near a pond. Despite dark and muddy conditions, they located him in the water and pulled him out.
Tactical support officers were then deployed with a defibrillator and assisted the ambulance service with continued CPR on the man for almost an hour, before assisting in transporting him to hospital.
The man’s life was saved as a direct result of the officers’ outstanding actions.
PC James Calloway, Debbie Giles, Ryan Nixon and Kirk Shortland
On 23rd August 2021, a man collapsed on a pedestrian crossing in Minehead. Six members of the public, including Debbie Giles, Ryan Nixon and Kirk Shortland collectively assisted with giving CPR for thirty minutes prior to the arrival of the ambulance. PC James Calloway was the first responder on the scene and assisted with CPR and liaison with ambulance service.
Sadly, the ambulance staff were unable to save him and the man passed away. However, the actions of members of the public and PC Calloway gave the man a chance of survival, and they worked tirelessly until the ambulance team could take over.
An award to members of the public who assist the police in the execution of their duty or who perform meritorious acts in the pursuit of law and order.
On the evening of December 15, 2021, member of the public Martin Drewitt took decisive action when he ran to the aid of a young girl and her dog on a Radstock street after five large dogs began attacking them.
Martin repeatedly grabbed hold of the dogs to stop the attack, showing little regard for his own safety. His gallant and selfless actions undoubtedly prevented serious injury to the young girl and a defenceless animal. He was also instrumental in providing evidence to police about the incident in the following days.
If you have been inspired by these stories and are interested in a career with the police, our recruitment process is currently open for applications. To find out more, visit https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/jobs-and-volunteering/roles-within-avon-and-somerset-police/police-officer/