Police staff and officers recognised at annual awards ceremony
A number of police employees have been commended for going above and beyond the call of duty at an annual awards ceremony.
The Surrey and Sussex Operations Command awards recognises individuals for their outstanding service – either following a specific incident or situation, or for their consistently hard work.
Officers and staff in Operations Command are responsible for specialist roads policing, firearms, airport policing, dog handling, event planning, public order policing, resourcing, emergency planning and counter terrorism protection.
These are among the numerous recipients of awards, presented at Highley Manor, Balcombe, on Wednesday 25 July:
- On Thursday 8 February, a distressed man called police stating he intended to harm himself and others in Sompting. Firearms officers Sergeant Lee Bryan and Police Constable Mike Hillman attended, and were presented with a man who was highly agitated and holding what appeared to be a handgun to his head.
The officers attempted to negotiate with the man, without success, and subsequently drew their respective firearms as a precaution. The suspect’s behaviour remained unchanged and he began to walk towards the officers.
At this point a baton launcher (a gun with rubber bullets) was used on the man, which resulted in him being incapacitated and allowed the officers to move forward and detain him.
The 23-year-old local man was arrested on suspicion of possession of a BB gun with intent to cause fear of violence, possession of a Taser, affray and possession of cannabis. The case is ongoing.
The officers received a departmental commendation.
- On Friday 9 February, an American man was stopped by Border Force officer Sarah Fitzpatrick at Gatwick Airport’s passport control, and questioned on the reasons for his arrival.
He initially said he was coming to meet his 21-year-old girlfriend, but after examining his landing card Sarah suspected something wasn’t right. She continued to question the man and her persistence led him to eventually reveal he had come to meet a 14-year-old girl he met online.
The US national was arrested and charged with causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, and meeting a child following sexual grooming. At Lewes Crown Court on 1 March, he was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
Sarah received a departmental commendation for the key role she played in bringing the man to justice.
- In 2015, extensive enquiries revealed 19 vulnerable women, all from South East Asia, were being sexually exploited at hotels across the South East by an organised crime group.
Detective Sergeant Steve Luxford, assisted by Police Constable Neil Beaumont, Police Constable Mark Baker and Detective Constable Nigel Roberts, used a number of covert and overt tactics to identify the victims, all of whom were offered support with the help of charities and non-Governmental organisations.
Their investigations also led to the convictions of three people – a Malaysian man and two Chinese women – following a seven-week trial at the Old Bailey.
Following the trial, the judge commended the police for their investigation, and made particular comment to the care that was shown to the victims and the evidence gathered for a successful prosecution.
All four received a departmental commendation.
- PCSO Victor Finch has been instrumental in developing and promoting various projects which support people with autism and other hidden disabilities.
In addition to his daily duties as part of the Gatwick Prevention Team, he has been heavily involved with Gatwick Airport Limited in developing a hugely successful scheme which encourages people with hidden disabilities to have a better customer experience when using the airport. This resulted in Gatwick becoming the first ever autistic friendly airport in the UK.
He received a departmental commendation for his continued efforts.
Operations Command Chief Superintendent Neil Honnor said: “At Surrey and Sussex Police, we are fortunate to have a vast number of highly skilled staff and officers, all of whom are integral to the day-to-day running of both forces.
“Sometimes a situation or scenario arises whereby an individual may go above and beyond their daily duties – whether it be frontline policing or behind-the-scenes planning – and these divisional awards are designed to recognise our employees for their extra effort.
“I would like to congratulate each award recipient and thank them for their continued contribution to Surrey and Sussex Police.”