Officers staff and volunteers celebrated at Essex Police Awards 2019
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Spirits were high at Braxted Park last week as officers, staff, volunteers and local dignitaries gathered to celebrate Essex Police’s achievements at the force’s annual awards.
More than 290 people attended the awards on Thursday 10 October, which were led by Chief Constable BJ Harrington and compered by television presenter David Whiteley.
The force’s annual awards celebrate dedication, bravery, professionalism and spirit of those who work for, or dedicate their time to supporting victims, tackling and preventing crime, and protecting the vulnerable members of our local communities.
A total of 83 people were shortlisted across the evening’s award categories with a single winner, and all different manner of teams were represented – from response teams at Stansted Airport, to the Serious Economic Crime Unit and the force’s Quality of Service team.
More than 300 nominations were made for this year’s awards, which were whittled down by a 40-person judging panel to get to the evening’s shortlisted candidates.
Chief Constable BJ Harrington said to attendees: “Be prepared to laugh and to cry, to be overawed by the tremendous work of our people and to walk away feeling an immense sense of pride in every single person in the Essex Police family.
“I know I certainly will, as I do every day after hearing and seeing about the work that brave, skilled, compassionate and dedicated colleagues do to help people, keep them safe and bring those who cause harm to justice.”
The night held the promise of 17 different awards and the full list of winners can be found below:
The Anthony Peel trophy, which is named after the former chairman of the Essex Police Authority, celebrates the dedication to the deduction to reducing crime. Mr Peel’s widow, Julia, presented the award to an intelligence officer who had excelled in bringing several major cases to court, including investigations into the thefts of ATMs across the county.
Richard Peel, grandson of former Essex Chief Constable Sir Jonathan Peel, awarded the High Flyer Award to Detective Sergeant Michael Pannell of the West Child Abuse Investigation Team, who scored the highest marks on the Inspector exams across the force.
The Award for Promoting Equality and Diversity went to Inspector Jamie Mills, who works for the Domestic Abuse Investigation Team in Clacton. Inspector Mills was awarded for his dedication to the force’s Disability Network, which he chairs. He is the voice of officers, staff and volunteers with disabilities, and often presents views throughout the force and further afield to educate those without disabilities and to benefit those who do.
Innovation of the Year Award was given to PC Jamie Beaird from our Dog Section, who developed a new tactic with our dogs, allowing them to be trained via laser-point, instead of using their nose in certain situations. This innovation has been presented nationally to police dog handlers and other partner agencies and has been incredibly well-received.
The Bennett Trophy, which is given to the Student Officer who is deemed to be an outstanding leader with excellent results, was awarded to PC Jazmine Lightning, who is currently working on Chelmsford’s Local Policing Team.
Volunteer Police Cadet of the Year was awarded to Marc Judd, the Head Cadet at Castle Point and Rochford’s Volunteer Police Cadet Unit, who was praised for his professionalism and willingness to help others. Just a few weeks ago, on a Duke of Edinburgh expedition, he carried a fellow cadet’s bag for several miles so that they could both finish the course.
PCSO of the Year was awarded to JoJo Mitchell, who has been based in Thurrock since joining the force 13 years ago. JoJo has been described as going ‘above and beyond’ by her colleagues, and not only works to maintain a visible presence in the local community, but is also dedicated to keeping them informed via social media, and was one of the first officers in the force to do so. She also leads Thurrock’s Police Cadets, having been a founding member when she started with the force.
The Making A Difference Award, otherwise known as the Millard Trophy, was awarded to Special Superintendent Howard Rayner for his 34 years in voluntary service to the force. Howard joined us as a Special Constable in 1983, and has risen through the ranks to become a Special Superintendent for the north of the county. Over the past five years, Howard has volunteered over 2,200 hours to policing in Essex, which is an average of 37 hours a month.
Howard’s innovative and tenacious approach to encouraging officers, delivered through effective leadership and support of Special Inspectors across the force, saw 188 officers contribute 1950 hours to policing, attending 177 incidents and making 48 arrests last year. His charity work with the Essex Police Special Constabulary Charity Fund supports his colleagues who are in need of financial assistance in challenging situations, all on top of running his own successful business full-time.
The George Cook Trophy, presented by George Cook MBE himself, was awarded for a dedication to the public and partnership working. Mr Cook was a former Chief Officer for the force’s Special Constabulary, where he served as a Special for 41 years. He presented the award to staff members Debra Knowler and Nick Allen, who work for the Criminal Justice Unit in Southend. Their dedication has ensured that the administrating and monitoring of conditional cautions in the area has been more effective, with crucial links being built with partner agencies to ensure we have a more informed picture of people who may be looking to exploit their cautions.
Their dedication to victims ensures that the Victim Awareness Course is more popular than ever. Debra and Nick’s dogged determination, efficiency and resilience to get the processes of out of court disposals right, and to make sure that victims of crime have a say in what decisions are made when it comes to cautions, has revolutionised their Criminal Justice Unit.
The Wilson Trophy, which is awarded for Outstanding Act of the Year, had a phenomenal shortlist. It was taken home by an Essex Police officer who was stabbed outside his home in Rayleigh earlier this year. Despite his injuries, the officer did all he could to safeguard his family and neighbours and apprehend his alleged attacker.
When receiving the award, the officer received a standing ovation from the room. A local man, accused of attempted murder, is currently awaiting trial.
Keith Smith, a 74-year-old Special Constable who has volunteered for the force for 22 years, took home the award for Special Constable of the Year. Keith has volunteered 2060 hours to the force over the past 12 months. He has a real passion for roads policing, and spends time at Stanway’s Roads Policing Unit, as well as capturing more than 8000 speeding offences in his time as a Special. His foot chase and arrest of a man 45 years his junior made headlines earlier this year, and we couldn’t be more proud to present him with this award.
Guest presenter Bob Nairn awarded the trophy named after his brother, Bill Nairn, who was a former inspirational Active Citizen in Colchester. This was the inaugural presentation of the Bill Nairn Trophy, which celebrates our volunteer of the year. Mr Nairn presented the trophy to Jane Owen, who volunteers for the Serious Economic Crime Unit, and is dedicated to supporting vulnerable victims who have fallen prey to scammers.
The award for Supporting Vulnerable People was awarded to Jamie Skipper, who is one of our Missing Person Liaison Officers. Jamie introduced the use of buddi clips throughout the north of the county, where she is based, in order to support vulnerable people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, who would regularly go missing. These clips, which have a GPS system inside them, have positively impacted the lives of families and individuals across the north of the county, and Jamie continues to foster strong relationships with these families by visiting regularly and checking in on their progress.
Police Staff Member of the Year was awarded to a member of our Media and Communications Team, Gina Marden, who leads on challenging cases and works closely with investigators across the force to deliver clear, appropriate and sensitive messaging to the public. She used her own personal time to secure the funding for Yolande Kennedy, who survived a rape more than 30 years ago, to come to the UK to see her attacker sentenced last year. She also worked with Crimestoppers to secure a £100,000 reward for information into the death of John Palmer through forging a good professional relationship with Mr Palmer’s family and has provided support for many high-profile cases and departments across the force, including Operation Raptor and the injunction against the C-17 gang in Thurrock. She also leads media training for senior officers and Family Liaison Officers across the force.
Police Officer of the Year went to PC Adam Gammans, who works for Chelmsford’s Local Policing Team. PC Gammans’ proactive approach to policing means that he is the leading officer in the force for stop and search, often leading to a significant seizure of drugs from individuals. On several occasions, PC Gammans has saved colleagues from serious assault, and recently saved the life of a member of the public who was seriously injured. As no ambulances were near the vicinity, PC Gammans took him to hospital personally, with first aid being administered throughout the whole journey. Doctors commended PC Gammans and his colleague for their quick decisions, which saved the man’s life.
The Outstanding Commitment to Essex Police Award, also known as the Liam Brigginshaw Award after our former Assistant Chief Constable, was awarded to Eddie Clarke, who has worked for the force for a staggering 52 years.
Eddie started in Southend on Sea Borough Police in 1964 before it merged into Essex Police, and has served in many roles since, with more than 22 of those years in employment as an Emergency Planning officer. As well as running large major-incident exercises and being one of the main points of contact for our partner agencies in emergency planning, Eddie doesn’t hesitate to come in on his days off to assist in the case of a major incident, like during the Jaywick floods in 2017, when he came in after-hours to assist his colleagues with the response to the extreme weather.
Of the six teams nominated for Team of the Year Award, the victorious team were The Professional Development Officer Team, who have worked admirably with a noticeable increase in the number of student officers entering Essex Police College. The officers assess students’ diplomas and continue to manage the welfare of these officers throughout the course of their training. They continue to encourage, recruit and train tutor constables to oversee the ongoing development of the officers who are beginning their careers.
The awards take place every year and will continue in 2020.
If you like the idea of winning any of these awards in the future and dedicating your career to fighting crime and protecting and serving your local community, come and join our ever-growing police family.