When our officers pass out after their initial training, they pledge to protect and serve the people of Essex. And they do so throughout their careers.
This means helping people, keeping them safe and catching criminals. The work they do every day to investigate crime and bring people to justice is more widely known than their work to help you and keep you safe.
Our Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington commends officers and staff who put themselves in harm’s way to protect people and to save lives. A Chief Constable’s Commendation is one of the highest honours he can bestow.
Recently, under the COVID Regulations in place at the time, Mr Harrington was able to commend Inspector Tony Adams, Sergeant Amy Butler and PC Josh Woodcraft for their bravery and quick-thinking actions which undoubtedly saved the lives of four people stranded offshore.
On 2 June last year, Essex Police received a report that one adult and three children, aged between seven and 15, were stuck in the mud approximately a mile from the shore at Chalkwell Esplanade.
One of the children had a medical condition, causing particularly low blood count. They had a significant cut to their leg and were at grave risk of passing out.
Tony declared a critical incident as the water was rapidly rising and the Coastguard had not yet arrived. The three Southend Local Policing Team officers made their way to the scene where they were informed by the council’s CCTV operators that two of the children were now neck-deep in water.
With disregard for their own safety, the three officers made their way through the rising water and successfully assisted all four members of the party back to shore.
“You just respond to the information in front of you. In such cases, the police are not the primary responders but, at the time, we were the only people there. “And, when the CCTV cameras report that people are turning blue and children are up to their necks in water, you have to go in.” Inspector Tony Adams
“As soon as we got there, we could see they were struggling so I knew we were going in. I decided to swim because it was quicker than struggling through the mud and I didn’t want to risk sinking into it. “I just knew we had to get them back to shore. “I was very surprised to be commended. I feel proud and it’s nice to be recognised for doing something out of the ordinary, something I wouldn’t do on a standard day but I would do as it’s my job." Sergeant Amy Butler, who is now with Basildon Local Policing Team
Amy’s grandfather Brian Cousins was able to watch as she received her Commendation from Mr Harrington.
“My grandad was in the Southend Borough Constabulary and, later, Essex Police, and was commended by his Chief Constable, which also makes me proud. He inspired me to join the force.” Sergeant Amy Butler
“I was the first officer there and I could see from the CCTV feed how much the group was struggling. Tony and Amy arrived shortly afterwards and Tony made the decision to go in. “We were only in the water for about ten or 15 minutes but I carried the youngest and the walk back to shore felt like an hour. It was only afterwards I felt cold – I didn’t think about it at the time. “Being commended is something to be proud of but, basically, it was just another day at work for me. I expect anyone else would have done the same.“ PC Josh Woodcraft, who is now with our Operational Support Group
“I don’t give Chief Constable’s Commendations lightly. The bar is high and what these officers have done is special. Their bravery, determination and professionalism is extraordinary. “How many people going home from work can say they’ve saved someone’s life? People are alive today because of what our officers have done. They will say ‘I was just doing my job, I was trained to do it’ but this can mean placing themselves at risk to save others from harm. It isn’t part of most people’s day job.” Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington
Have Tony, Amy and Josh inspired you?
People from all walks of life are applying to join Essex Police and everyone is welcome if you share our values and want to help people and protect and serve our communities.
We value difference, so if our officers have inspired you and you think you fit the bill and want to join our policing family, visit www.essex.police.uk/fitthebill to see what careers we have to offer.