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Eight tales of life-saving and exceptional work in Somerset

Four Chief Constable Commendations, one Royal Human Society (RHS) award, two Waley-Cohen awards and one Ray Robinson award were awarded to police officers, staff and members of the public on Thursday 15th October.

The awards recognised outstanding work in saving lives and engaging with the public and were presented at Hestercombe House near Taunton.

Chief Constable Commendations recognise significant personal courage and commitment to duty far and beyond what is expected.

Acting Sergeant Dean Chedzoy

Dean Chedzoy

Acting Sergeant Dean Chedzoy was awarded a Commendation for saving the life of a woman that jumped into a river in Taunton.

Acting Sergeant Chedzoy said: “I was on evening foot patrol near the river Tone when I heard a scream and saw a woman jump into the water. I could see she was in distress and ran to her assistance. I could see that she was going into shock from the cold weather combined with the water temperate. I prepared myself to jump into the water but before I did, I managed to encourage her to the riverside before lifting her onto the bank. She was very cold so I covered her with my coat and talked to her to keep her awake. She held my hand until the ambulance arrived.

“As an officer, you have to make quick decisions and trust your instincts as you don’t have time to think.

"You see someone in distress and you go to help; anyone would do the same.”

Renata Hornbook

Renata Hornbook

Renata Hornbook, member of police staff, was commended for her part in helping a vulnerable man in Yeovil. The man was Polish and spoke very little English so officers turned to Renata, who was off-duty, for assistance using her fluent Polish.

Renata Hornbook, Investigative Support Officer said: “I returned home after an evening out with my husband and the next thing I knew there was a knock at the door. It was one of my colleagues and they said they needed my help. There was a distressed man on the bridge who was threatening to jump. It was a serious situation and I told my husband I had to go.

“I didn’t think too much about what I was going to encounter. I’m not trained for these types of situations and this was out of the blue but I was pleased to be able to use my language skills in this type of scenario. I tried to engage with him in his native language and calm him down. Communication and helping others is a central part of the job that police officers and staff do every day.

“I feel privileged to be part of the policing family and to receive an award today.

"I was humbled to get a glimpse of the situations that police officers work in all the time; being part of the team effort that helped the man was an incredible experience.”

Acting Inspector Jason Roberts and PC Scott Tabner

Acting Inspector Jason Roberts and PC Scott Tabner were also recognised for their work in helping a troubled man in Weston-super-Mare without any thought for their own safety. In March, officers were called to a vulnerable man in a distressed state. The man could be seen self-harming with a large blade. PC Tabner tried to communicate with the man and encouraged him to drop the blade.

When he didn’t do this and it became evident that his life was endanger, the officers bravely worked together to restrain the man for his own safety and administered first aid.

Temporary Chief Constable Gareth Morgan said: “I am always proud and humbled to be celebrating the inspiring work of colleagues on behalf of the community in Somerset. It is an honour to recognise courageous acts of bravery in the line of duty and great examples of police work which underline the broad range of roles undertaken everyday by officers and staff in the course of their duties.

"Awarding colleagues for their work, in front of their families is always a highlight for me.”

RHS awards

RHS awards were presented by Lisa Nelson, High Sheriff of Somerset to members of the public. The national awards recognise acts of bravery in attempts to save lives. Awards were given to several residents of Somerset including Tiegan Baker and three others who assisted a man who had set himself and his car on fire. The young people bravely coaxed the man away from the vehicle to prevent further injury and used their clothes to extinguish the flames. Sadly, the fire resulted in catastrophic injuries and he died the following day.

Victoria Shaw

Victoria Shaw

She also presented a Waley Cohen award to Victoria Shaw who acted with courage when protecting her children and property. In July 2014, a man broke into Victoria’s home while she and her children were sleeping and stole some of her personal belongings. Victoria woke and confronted him. During the altercation, the man dropped a pair of sunglasses he was wearing before he fled the scene. DNA evidence on the glasses led to a man being convicted.

High Sheriff of Somerset Mrs Lisa Nelson said:

“It is my pleasure to celebrate these acts of courage by residents of Somerset.

"It is evident that your families are incredibly proud.”

Charlie Alecsander

Sue Mountstevens, Police and Crime Commissioner, presented a citation to Charlie Alecsander who will be presented with an RHS bronze medal by Princess Alexandra at a ceremony next year.

Charlie was involved in a serious road traffic collision on Back River Drove near Glastonbury in July 2014. The vehicle lost control and rolled several times, coming to rest in the River Brue. Charlie got himself out of the vehicle and courageously rescued an 8-year-old boy, who was still in the vehicle and could not swim.

When he was safe, Charlie helped a man who was face down in the water, rousing him and maintaining consciousness until help arrived. He then ensured the third occupant of the vehicle, a young girl, was safe before allowing himself to be looked after. The man and young girl sustained serious injuries and the young boy was thankfully unharmed.

Sue Mountstevens said: “I would like to congratulate all the winners. They deserve the recognition for their extraordinary effort and should be really proud of their achievements.

It’s always incredibly humbling to hear about such selfless, courageous and brave acts

"I’d like to offer my thanks for all that they do.”

Pat Robinson

Pat Robinson, whose late husband Ray was a police officer at Avon and Somerset Police, presented an award which recognises the greatest contribution to community relations outside of the greater Bristol area.

Group Photo

This year, the award was given to a team of officers and staff who were instrumental in Force Open Day on Sunday 13 September. A number of police officer and staff were recognised for their dedicated work in the successful event.