A member of the public that prevented a burglary, a lorry driver who put his own life in danger to save another man, and a PCSO whose tenacity and courage saved the life of a vulnerable young woman, were just some of the officers, staff and members of the public honoured this week.
Extraordinary accounts of bravery, courage and commitment were celebrated on Monday (29 October) at a special awards ceremony hosted by Avon and Somerset Police at Merchants Hall, Bristol.
Police officers, staff and members of the public were given accolades at the event, which was attended by Chief Constable Andy Marsh, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens, and High Sheriff of Bristol, Roger Opie.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “These awards are an opportunity to celebrate those people who have gone above and beyond expectations. Today we have heard extraordinary stories of courage, bravery and selflessness.
“Many of the situations we have heard about reflect the changing nature of the work that we do. Demand for our help is higher than ever as we are called on to protect and help some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. We can’t do the job we do alone. We rely on teamwork, the support of our colleagues and the public.
“The accounts we’ve heard today illustrate the very best of this teamwork and it has been a privilege to celebrate with our award winners and their friends and families.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset Sue Mountstevens said: “Today we have heard amazing stories of bravery, of people who have remained calm and professional in extremely challenging situations and have put the safety of others before their own.
“It’s a great privilege to be here today to celebrate all those whose actions have helped make our communities safer, and feel safer for all of us.”
Award winners were as follows:
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.
PC Louise Jones and PC Frank Hook
PC Louise Jones and PC Frank Hook responded to a request for police assistance following a fight between two women. On arrival they were confronted by an aggressive man waving a large machete above his head. He headed towards the officers with the machete raised, despite being told repeatedly to drop the weapon. The officers restrained the man and managed to handcuff him. He then began to show signs of suffering a seizure. The witnesses were very frightened, angry and intoxicated but the officers managed to find out that the man suffered with a medical condition which can produce life threatening seizures, often resulting in loss of oxygen. It also became apparent that he had received a serious eye injury. The prompt and courageous actions of these officers prevented the offender from causing significant harm to others, potentially resulting in loss of life.
Major Crime Investigating Officer Rachel Cannon
MCIO Cannon went above and beyond expectations during a challenging and sensitive investigation involving a vulnerable young woman. MCIO Cannon built a significant rapport with the victim, helping to secure her attendance at both trial and pre-trial and supporting her through an extremely difficult cross examination. When giving evidence and being cross-examined by extremely experienced counsel, she came across with an assured confidence, and demonstrated a complete and detailed knowledge of the case. MCIO Rachel Cannon did an exceptional job, showing great determination and effectiveness.
PC Rob Compton
PC Compton showed remarkable bravery and tenacity which led to a dangerous criminal being brought to justice. He, along with two colleagues, attended an address in Bristol to make an arrest of a man wanted on recall to prison.
When confronted the man attempted to run away and got into the driver’s seat of his vehicle. PC Compton jumped in through the passenger window and tried to stop the vehicle by putting on the handbrake and removing the keys from the ignition. Throughout this the suspect continued to drive with PC Compton, half in and half out of the vehicle. The suspect then crashed the vehicle and ran off. PC Compton pursued the suspect, caught and restrained him until colleagues arrived to assist.
Crown Court Commendation:
Awarded by the Crown Court for significant personal courage or significant commitment in the execution of duty, above and beyond what should normally be expected.
Bradley Bishop took part in the investigation of a case which involved three co-defendants on the charge of an affray, following a disorder in Queens Road in Bristol in March 2017. This was a high-profile case under a great deal of public scrutiny and there was a high media interest around the circumstances and the court hearings. A Bristol Crown Court Judge would like to commend Bradley for going above and beyond his duties supporting this investigation in court by dealing with the gathering of a large amount of material and then presenting it in a way that was suitable for the purpose of a jury trial.
P/Staff Daniel Lamb and DC Gary Forster
DC Gary Forster and Daniel Lamb were an important part of Operation Greenfield, a police operation investigating drug trafficking between London and Gloucester.
Daniel’s work as a police analyst was crucial to the success of the case, presenting complex telephone data that linked the conspirators, in a way that was simple for the jury to understand.
DC Gary Forster was the Officer In Case supporting the prosecuting counsel but has also been extremely helpful to the defence teams. He showed high levels of effectiveness during this trial and merits a Crown Court Commendation.
After a 5-week trial at Bristol Crown Court all the main conspirators were convicted and given substantial prison sentences.
Royal Humane Society Award
A national award for acts of bravery while saving human life, or in attempt to do so
In December last year PC Andrew Dino was on foot patrol in Bristol when he was approached by two men. One of the men collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. PC Dino reacted immediately, performed CPR and requested ambulance assistance. Without PC Dino’s immediate help, the man wouldn’t have survived.
Andy Brown, a lorry driver, was on the motorway when he saw a motorcyclist aquaplane and lose control in dark and wet conditions. The man fell from his bike and was lying in the fast lane. Andy immediately pulled over to the hard shoulder and called 999.
The call handler did a great job in telling Andy to stay on the hard shoulder, to remain safe and pass her the details of his location. However Andy realised that the motorcyclist was immobile and that due to the dark conditions other drivers were unable to see him. Andy said:
“I quickly realised that he was going to get hit by another vehicle if he stayed where he was. I knew I had to help him. I crossed over and pulled him into the central reservation, and held his hand and talked to him while we waited. It seemed like a lifetime before help arrived, although I think it was about 10 minutes. I didn’t really stop to think about what I was doing. I just knew I had to do something.”
Andy Brown not only saved this man’s life but also put his own at risk while doing so. He undeniably deserves an award for saving a life.
PC Yasmin Kingdon, PC Benjamin Schofield and a member of the public
On 29th August 2017, a woman was on the cliff edge in Clifton near the Suspension Bridge with her dog, threatening to end her own life. Police were called by the suspension bridge staff who had noticed the woman in distress. PC Yasmin Kingdon and PC Benjamin Schofield attended the scene.
PC Yasmin Kingdon said: “The woman didn’t want to communicate with us to start with, but we carried on talking to her and she eventually agreed to take my hand. As we were pulling her up, she and her dog slipped and we were all getting closer to the edge with nothing to hold onto. That’s when a member of the public stepped in to help. My colleague and I kept hold of the lady and the man supported us by holding onto the fence and my hand.
It was quite scary as we were very close to the edge but I wouldn’t have done anything differently, that’s why I joined the police, to help people.”
During the incident, the member of the public also did his best to remove other by-standers from the area advising them not to watch what was happening. The officers’ actions with the help from the member of the public undoubtedly saved the woman’s life.
A woman with complex mental health conditions was admitted to Southmead Hospital for drinking bleach. Chelsea Sinclair, her support worker, called 999 after the female fled the hospital before receiving treatment, stating she wanted to jump from the top of the car park.
Chelsea stayed with her, talking to her whilst also keeping up a dialogue with the call handler. The woman kept threatening to jump if police came near her and Chelsea noticed that she was bleeding from her arm due to the cannula being pulled out. Chelsea continued to talk to the woman, reassuring her and trying to get her to move away from the edge.
The woman finally agreed that she would speak to the ambulance staff and could be approached by the police. Chelsea held her hand while they spoke to officers.
Chelsea showed initiative by ringing 999 for assistance in a very sensitive and precarious situation. She remained calm and her actions resulted in the woman being brought to a place of safety.
PCSO Sarah Hewlett
In November 2017 officers received a call that vulnerable young woman, suffering from complex behavioural and mental health issues, had run away from her home with the intention of killing herself.
PCSO Sarah Hewlett was on duty on her own and had previous knowledge of the young woman and the place where she was found when she threatened to end her life previously. Using that knowledge Sarah headed for the area where she found that the young woman had already attempted suicide and was losing consciousness. Sarah acted quickly to help her and contacted a colleague to guide her fellow officers to the scene. Sarah said: “This was a case of listening to my instincts as I felt it was likely that the woman would return to the same place. It was a very difficult situation and at the time seemed very unreal. I just did whatever I could to help.”
The young woman survived and was taken to hospital. During the traumatic incident Sarah remained calm and professional even when the situation became difficult to deal with. With her quick thinking, calm professionalism and physical courage, Sarah prevented a tragedy.
PS John Cockerman, PC Rich Hafferty, PC Lee Andrews, PC Jamie Bell, PC Ian Womack, PC Craig Davies
Officers were out on patrol early one Sunday morning in November 2017 when they noticed a female driver waving for help on a busy dual carriageway. Her husband, who had been complaining of chest pains, had become unresponsive on the way to hospital.
The officers called for an ambulance and then removed the unconscious man from the car. He wasn’t breathing and the officers couldn’t find a pulse. They immediately started with CPR in conjunction with the use of the vehicle’s defibrillator. The man was shocked four times and the officers worked together until the paramedics arrived.
During the incident, PS John Cockerham was a great support to the shocked family. Thanks to the officers’ continuous attempt to resuscitate, the man is now fully recovered. All of the officers showed a great example of determination and professionalism.
For members of the public within Avon & Somerset Constabulary who perform a meritorious action in support of law and order.
Mark Prosser, a member of the public, was woken in the middle of night by noises outside his house. When he looked out of his bedroom window he saw a suspicious man trying to break into his elderly neighbour’s coal shed.
Mark tried to intervene and shouted at the man to stop which startled him and he started to run away. However the fencing and the steep bank at the end of the garden slowed him down and Mark was able to catch up with him and detain him until the police arrived to arrest him. Mark went above and beyond what is expected from a member of the public, and he showed courage in potentially risky situation when he followed the offender who might have been aggressive and even armed. Mark deserves to be awarded for his actions.