Recognition for police officers, staff and members of the public at West Sussex ceremony
Police officers, staff, special constables, volunteers and members of the local community from across West Sussex have all been recognised for their outstanding contribution to policing over the past year in an awards ceremony held on Monday (2 July).
Award recipients from Adur and Worthing, Arun, Chichester, Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex districts were invited to the ceremony at Arundel Castle to receive their awards and acknowledge the achievements of their colleagues and members of the public.
Presentations were awarded by the High Sheriff of West Sussex Caroline Nicholls, Chief Constable Giles York and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.
Officers who were recognised included Sergeant Matthew Songhurst and Christopher Bryant who were given a Divisional Congratulations for local policing after they bravely faced a man with a sword in the street.
In February this year, the pair were sent to Worthing after reports were received of a man brandishing a sword at people on bicycles.
The quick-thinking duo put themselves between the suspect and the members of the public and the pair were able to calmly diffuse the situation and remove the weapon.
The man was arrested and given an eight month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months.
Detective Constable Heidi McCall received a Chief Constable’s Commendation Award for her dedication to a historic child sexual abuse case.
Heidi dedicated her time to sensitively contacting each of the victims and provided detailed explanations and reassurance throughout the case. The offender was traced, arrested and interviewed and he denied all of the allegations. Heidi completed an exceptionally detailed investigation and the following year the offender was charged with 26 individual sexual offences.
Heidi provided support for all of the victims during the trial and was there when the jury announced their unanimous guilty verdict. At the trial the judge went on to comment on the courage shown by the victims and commended Heidi on her complex and detailed investigation and the care and compassion she had shown to the victims throughout the investigation and trial.
PC Michael Sedgley and Stuart Murray were given a Chief Constable’s Commendation Award for their calm and collective manner during a volatile incident. The pair attended a report of a violent incident in Chichester and on arrival they were confronted by a man with a knife. Despite one of the officers being injured by the knife, the pair disarmed the man and with the help of another crew, the suspect was arrested.
The suspect pleaded guilty to a number of offences and was given a custodial sentence.
Detective Constable Gaye Moore was given a Division Congratulations for crime and operations for her commitment to a sexual assault case. The victim and their family and the court commented on Gaye’s dedication to the case in particular her preparation, presentation and knowledge.
Following the ceremony West Sussex Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Jerry Westerman said: "I am extremely proud of the staff and officers on West Sussex Division and the dedication and professionalism they deliver to achieve excellent public service on a day to day basis.
"The West Sussex Divisional Awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate outstanding performance. This ceremony acknowledges the commitment of our staff, officers and volunteers to achieve the best outcomes for the communities they serve and bring offenders to justice.
"There were 65 awards given on the day and many more considered. There is exceptional work going on every day in every corner of the county, most of which never gets as far as a nomination let alone to the awards ceremony.
“There is an immense amount of drive from all staff and officers that often sees them going above and beyond their roles at Sussex Police, contributing in making our county a safer place in which to work, live and visit.
"We have also recognised members of the public whose quick thinking and selfless actions have made a positive difference to others.”