The Chief Constable’s Awards took place yesterday (Tuesday June 28) at Merchants Hall in Clifton.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh, Police Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and the High Sheriff of Bristol Helen Wilde all attended the ceremony to congratulate the recipients and present awards.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Attending award ceremonies like this is one of the many highlights of my role as PCC.
“The awards are always a welcome reminder of the dedication, bravery and care shown throughout the Constabulary and highlight the good work being done on a daily basis.
“I want to thank all of the individuals recognised for their continued efforts in keeping our local communities safe.”
Chief Constable’s Commendations were given to PCs Dave Allen, Steve Morgan and Stuart Mitchell for risking their lives in July 2015, to save a man from drowning in Severn Beach.
When they arrived, the tide was coming in, the water was up to the man’s chest and he only had a very short period of time before being swept away. PC Morgan and PC Finnegan put on their Swift Water Rescue kit, entered the water and grabbed the man as he was trying to break free. They were pulled to safety by PC Allen and PC Mitchell.
Without their actions, disregarding their own safety, the man would have drowned.
Three officers in Bath, also involved in a water rescue in January last year, were given Chief Constable’s Commendations.
Insp Damian Morley, Insp Andrew Gussey and PC Daniel Arthur attended a call where a woman was in distress in the water near Pulteney Bridge.
She was trying to hold on to a ledge after being swept downstream but kept slipping in and out of the water. The officers climbed over a high fence to get near the woman and PC Arthur lay down on the edge of the wall next to the water while Insp Morley and Insp Gussey held him down to support his weight. He reached out to her and grabbed the woman’s hands to stop her going under the water.
The officers kept hold of the woman for 10 minutes until the fire brigade arrived and used their dinghy to rescue her. She was suffering severe hypothermia. Their actions were courageous and selfless and ultimately saved the woman’s life.
Royal Humane Society awards were given to PCs Alan Hill, PC Kevin Garcia-Perez their quick-thinking actions when they resuscitated a man who had collapsed in his home.
The officers attended a house in Bristol in October last year and shortly after they arrived the man’s condition deteriorated and he became unconscious and unresponsive. PC Garcia-Perez immediately started chest compressions while PC Hill assisted and took charge of the man’s airway.
After a short time the man made some respiratory noises, at this point a paramedic arrived.
A Royal Humane Society Awards was also given to PC Chris McCallum for saving the life of a woman on a railway line in Bedminster in August last year.
PC McCallum saw the woman lying next to the live track. He climbed over a high fence to get to her and using previous knowledge and training from his service in the British Transport Police, PC McCallum carefully crossed the track.
When a train approached the woman jumped up and lunged towards the track which pushed PC McCallum backwards, but he overpowered the woman keeping her on the ground until the train passed by.
PC McCallum’s actions undoubtedly saved the life of a vulnerable person. He acted with incredible bravery in placing his own life in danger to protect another.
Crown Court Commendations were given to officers who worked on the Operation Bicton case investigating the disappearance of Becky Watts in 2015.
Becky, 16, was murdered in her home in Crown Hill, Bristol, last year. Her step brother Nathan Matthews and his partner Shauna Hoare were jailed for her murder.
Detective Inspector Richard Ocone led the investigation with superb professionalism from the outset when the case was a missing person enquiry. Once it became apparent the case was no longer a simple missing person enquiry, Detective Superintendent Liz Tunks was appointed the Senior Investigating Officer. Det Supt Tunks led the team with excellent decision making and a calm approach.
Detective Superintendent Mike Courtiour was the Senior Investigative Advisor and provided experience, advice and support to his colleagues while performing countless media briefings and interviews, especially during the court process.
DC Emma Mason was given a Crown Court Commendation for the pivotal part she played in an operation surrounding a large and complex investigation into the sexual abuse of very young children. It involved multiple defendants, multiple victims and multiple offences.
In September 2014 a man was arrested for child sex offences following a request for a police welfare visit. Emma interviewed the man and she quickly realised the opportunity this afforded police to uncover a live paedophile ring.
Emma was commended by her peers for her skill and ability. She was joint Officer in the Case and lead interviewer travelling the country advising other forces where identified paedophiles were resident. Emma’s valuable contributions made possible the identification and arrest of six further sex offenders.
In total the operation led to the arrest and conviction of seven paedophiles who received a combined sentence of 107 years. Without Emma’s actions, none of this would have been possible.
A Crown Court Commendation was given to Carole Hawkins for her role in investigating a multi-million pound fraud involving a rogue landlord who claimed his company was a registered charity which provided housing and extra support to tenants.
There were numerous tenants and properties which were the subject of Housing Benefit claims. Business records were chaotic, as were the conditions at the business premises and tenanted properties.
The Defendant admitted in interview to being a sole trader and generating profits which he used for his own purposes. He was subsequently charged with, and pleaded guilty to, Cheating the Public Revenue.
Detective Constable Lisa Matthews was also given a Crown Court Commendation after in investigating an armed robbery in February 2015 at William Hill Bookmakers in Bath. A lone member of staff was threatened with a 12 inch” carving knife and £760 cash was stolen.
Lisa identified a suspect through meticulous questioning, which led her to believe he may be staying in town with a woman who had recently been rehoused due to problems with a waterlogged property.
Lisa contacted local housing authorities to identify whether they were currently housing anyone under such circumstances. One housing association confirmed.
Lisa explored all contact numbers they held for this woman. One number was linked with a man, who was potentially her partner, and background checks confirmed he had previously been arrested for robbery.
An arrest was made and evidence was recovered linking the suspect to the robbery. The man was put before Bristol Crown Court and convicted in December 2015.