Police employees and community workers recognised at West Sussex awards do
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A number of Sussex Police employees and community workers have been recognised for going above and beyond the call of duty.
The individuals were commended for their achievements at the West Sussex divisional awards ceremony, held at Arundel Castle on Monday 18 October.
Awards were presented for a variety of reasons including complex investigations, impactful community engagement and life-saving actions.
Chief Superintendent Howard Hodges, Divisional Commander for West Sussex, said: “These awards are held annually to recognise the achievements of individuals who make a difference, both from within our own workforce as well as our volunteers and members of the public.
“We are fortunate to have a large workforce of hard-working, dedicated and selfless workers whose responsibilities often take them into unchartered territory, or – as we have seen with the Coronavirus pandemic – unprecedented scenarios.
“Our officers and staff face numerous challenges throughout the year, whether it be responding to dangerous or hostile situations on the front line, planning to mitigate risks for a large event, or providing training to enable others to excel, for example.
“Far too often, these challenges are considered to be just ‘part of the job’, but this is far from the truth.
“This event is a special occasion in a special venue which we have matched with special people, and gives us the opportunity to showcase these people for going above and beyond, and for making a difference to our communities across West Sussex. I am proud of each and every one of those who have received their awards.”
Here are some of the awards citations:
PC Charlene Parsons and PC Louise Chapman were commended for their quick-thinking actions which prevented a serious assault from occurring.
The pair were off duty and dining at The Sussex Yeoman pub in Durrington with their young child, when they witnessed a verbal altercation between two men.
They put themselves in harm’s way – despite the immediate threat of a man armed with a belt and then a wine glass – in order to protect the public and prevent the incident from escalating.
L-R: Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Dando, PC Louise Chapman, PC Charlene Parsons, Chief Superintendent Howards Hodges
Police Enquiry Officer Ian Taylor received praise for assisting a woman who attended Bognor Regis Police Station to report a stalking incident at her home. Using his previous experience as a scenes of crime officer, Ian was able to advise the woman how to prepare the soil outside her address in order to preserve a footprint in the event of a repeat visit.
This proved successful, and led to the arrest of a man who was deferred to mental health services.
L-R: Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Dando, Police Enquiry Officer Ian Taylor, Chief Superintendent Howard Hodges
PC Dani Gardner was commended for her bravery and professionalism in the way she dealt with a young man armed with a knife, who threatened to harm himself.
Whilst off duty with her family, Dani witnessed the man going in and out of traffic along the A259 in Worthing. Identifying the need to safeguard others, Dani did not hesitate and pulled her car over and confronted him. Together with a member of the public she then took him back to his care home.
Whilst there, she saw the man go into the kitchen and grab a knife, and consequently threaten to harm himself. At this point Dani ran into the kitchen and wrestled the man to the floor, disarming him of the knife and requesting that staff call 999 for police. She arrested the man and detained him until police colleagues arrived.
After all of this, Dani went home and wrote up her statement, along with taking statements from key witnesses over the phone. She then wrote up the circumstances on the initial crime report, all the time whilst being off duty and having her young family with her.
L-R: Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Dando, PC Dani Gardener, Chief Superintendent Howard Hodges
PCs Jack Buchanan, Tim Bond, Jemma Cranfield and Rob Ruffle were recognised for their heroics when responding to a report of a man in distress who had walked into the River Adur.
PC Ruffle used his specialist skills as a drone operator to locate the man, who was found face down in the mud and unconscious. The man’s partner had also become stuck when attempting to rescue him, so a quick decision was made to enter the riverbank.
PC Buchanan and PC Bond waded through the mud at 3am in freezing conditions to rescue the pair, while PC Cranfield located equipment to assist in the rescue, and provided commentary and directions for the other emergency services attending the incident.
When the man was brought out of the river he was suffering with hyperthermia and all four officers provided him with immediate first aid. The quick response and actions of the officers in attendance ultimately saved the man’s life.
L-R: Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Dando, PC Jemma Cranfield, PC Jack Buchanan, PC Tim Bond, Chief Superintendent Howard Hodges
Three officers were commended for their outstanding work in relation to Operation Everdon – an armed robbery at Worthing News in December.
A comprehensive and detailed investigation including forensic and digital forensic enquiries, covert tactics, financial investigation, CCTV and ANPR reviews, led to the two suspects being identified and traced.
They were sentenced to a total of more than 20 years’ in prison, and as a result have been prevented from committing further offences and causing harm in the local community.
Whilst this investigation was without doubt a team effort for all the CID teams at Worthing and other departments, the three nominees for this award played a pivotal role in identifying the offenders and bringing them to justice.
Detective Sergeant Andy Ricks was commended for his tenacity and relentlessness in progressing the investigation; Crime Investigator Gary Campbell for his comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the job and stepping up; and PCSO Steve White for his tenacity during the extensive CCTV trawl of suspects, assisting with gathering the vital evidence needed to identify, place and prosecute the offenders. L-R: High Sheriff Neil Hart, Crime Investigator Gary Campbell, Detective Sergeant Andrew Ricks, PCSO Steve White, Detective Chief Inspector Jo Grantham
Helen Hodder (Stonepillow), Richard Erdelyi (Turning Tides), Kristy Bristow (Rough Sleeper Worker, Arun District Council), Lisa Aytoun (Rough Sleeper Team, Chichester District Council), Ann Ettridge (Change Grow Live), Donna Ockenden (Four Streets), Rob Hill (Heart Church), Marshall Abott (Antisocial behaviour caseworker, Chichester District Council), Lee Matthews (antisocial behaviour team, Arun District Council) and Susie Edwards (Street Triage) were all recognised for their efforts towards Operation Manner – the policing initiative promoting joint working with partner agencies across Arun and Chichester.
The aim of the operation is to engage with and support members of the street and homeless communities by reducing antisocial behaviour and associated offending, protecting vulnerable people and identifying safeguarding opportunities.
The nominees, their organisations and volunteers played a key part in this activity to ensure individuals were able to access support services during the challenging Covid-19 pandemic.
PC Laura Marmolejo and Sergeant Amy McAlees were also commended for their outstanding work in successfully introducing Op Manner.
PC Marmolejo recognised the issues and sought to engage with those responsible for antisocial behaviour, identifying opportunities to engage with individuals, working with stakeholders to ensure appropriate support was in place to prevent them offending and deal positively with those who continued to perpetrate crime. Key to this was ensuring that support in relation to mental health, accommodation and addiction was provided as part of the wrap around response.
This good work was then taken across Littlehampton and Bognor, led by Sergeant McAlees. The officers supported leads for both areas to develop strong partnership working, days of action and multi-agency walk arounds and support.
As a result of this joint work, there has been a reduction in offences involving the street communities in town and city centres, and the successful use of antisocial behaviour powers has contributed to a marked decrease in calls to particular individuals and locations. It has also seen a number of people now in long term housing with the correct support in place. Back Row L-R: High Sheriff Neil Hart, Lisa Aytoun, Helen Hodder, Kristy Bristow, Phil Stone, Sergeant Amy McAlees, PC Laura Marmolejo, Chief Inspector Jon Carter
Front Row L-R: Lee Matthews, Ann Etteridge, Susie Edwards, Donna Ockenden, Rob Hill, Marshall Abbott.