Extraordinary actions of officers and motorists awarded at ceremony
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The extraordinary actions of officers and members of the public have been recognised at a ceremony at our headquarters today, Friday 21 February.
The families of nine officers attended the Chief Constable’s Commendations ceremony hosted by Chief Constable BJ Harrington and supported by ACC Tim Smith and Pippa Brent-Isherwood, Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
Certificates will also be sent to two members of the public who acted heroically but were unable to attend today’s event.
Those in attendance heard how the recipients had detained a wanted man who had caused serious injuries to himself, prevented a man from jumping off a bridge and safeguarded victims who had been subjected to sexual offences and secured prison sentences totalling 43 years for their abusers.
Chief Constable Harrington said: “The actions of the officers and members of the public were extraordinary.
“They may say they were just doing their job, however, this is extraordinary stuff and our officers are doing this every single day.
“They went above and beyond to help people, keep them safe and to catch baddies and for that I thank them all.”
In December 2019, Police Constables Deborah Williams and Sam Saville had been called to make an arrest attempt on a man when they found him with serious injuries in Basildon.
He had used a razor blade to cause harm to himself and the officers quickly administered first aid and applied a tourniquet – despite the risk they faced by the man who was armed with the blade.
The officers then called for assistance before detaining him. He was taken to hospital and he survived his injuries.
They said: “We went to arrest a man and quickly established that he had caused horrific injuries to himself.
“It all happened really quickly and we had to take action to detain him so we could tend to his wounds. We’ve not seen injuries like them and he was very fortunate to survive.”
In October 2019, two motorists, Mick Sollis and Paul Meaney, spotted a man getting out of his car on the Dartford Crossing.
The man got out and sat on the wrong side of the bridge’s barrier. There was immediately concerns that he would take his own life.
Off-duty Metropolitan Police Service officer, Sarah Wallin, was on her way to work when she also saw the incident unfolding and all three managed to restrain the man ahead of police attendance.
Sarah said: “I was driving to work when I spotted two men bravely attempting to help a man who had threatened to take his life.
“He was sitting on the side of the bridge and there were concerns around his intent.
“We manage to take him to hospital and I hope he got the help that he needed.”
Superintendent Andy Waldie, retired Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Smith and Detective Constables Sophia Thornton, Jo Worrow, Mark Morgan-Jones and David Hobday were involved in complex investigations involving two organised crime groups who were abusing vulnerable women.
Some off the officers had little or no public protection experience yet rose to the immense challenge of taking on two child sexual exploitation investigations involving victims.
The case papers were extensive, involving contact with hundreds of potential witnesses and victims, and over a quarter of a million pages of phone data was examined by the small team.
The officers provided an exceptional level of support to the victims who had suffered years of sexual abuse as children. The victims had a deep mistrust of authority and led chaotic lifestyles, however, the officers showed immense patience and gained their trust.
The professionalism, tenacity and dedication throughout the investigations resulted in the heads of the crime groups receiving a total of 43 years’ imprisonment. The men sentenced lived in various locations in Essex including Shoebury, Braintree and Chelmsford.
Superintendent Waldie said: “It was an investigation that really exploded and a team of people were assigned to it.
“We then established that organised crime groups involved in drugs, sexual exploitation and modern slavery were involved and we took steps to quickly detain the suspects.
“Some of the victims had previously had bad experiences with the police but the team’s determination was second to none.
“We built up rapport and we submitted files that secured charges and substantial sentences.”