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, even when off duty. A Chief Constable’s Commendation is one of the highest honours he can bestow.
Recent commendations of police officers who have carried out acts of bravery and saved lives have included:
PC Paddi Hawkins, PC Andy Perry and PC Sam Bennett, who were commended for their quick thinking and decisive actions which, undoubtedly, saved the life of the young teenager.
In September last year, Essex Police received a report of a person who had attempted to take their own life.
PC Paddi Hawkins arrived at the scene within eight minutes of the call, where it became apparent the casualty was a 14-year-old boy. Harwich Local Policing Team colleagues PC Andy Perry and PC Sam Bennett arrived two minutes later.
While Paddi and Sam quickly commenced CPR and then detected a faint pulse. After paramedics and an emergency trauma team arrived, the officers looked after distraught family members who had come to the scene, working with others to protect the privacy and dignity of the young casualty.
“I was so desperate to save him. Then Andy and Sam turned up and I’ve never been so grateful to hear sirens in my life. I started CPR, which is quite tiring, and then Sam took over and did a wonderful job. He got the boy breathing again. Then the first responders and an ambulance arrived, stabilised the boy and took him to hospital. “It’s nice knowing we gave him the chance to live, grow up and grow old. It’s absolutely wonderful to be commended by the Chief Constable but it’s not something I expected. It’s everyday policing but sometimes it’s a little bit more than that. We always try to do our best." PC Paddi Hawkins
“Sam and I ran 50 or 60 yards down an alleyway to get to the scene to help. I left Sam helping Paddi and went to get a defibrillator because while we arrived quickly, I didn’t know how long an ambulance would be. “By the time I got back, they’d done an amazing job and the boy was breathing on his own, which he wasn’t when I left. “Pure instinct told me we had to try our very best to save his life. It happened so quickly but from the training you’ve received you have an instinct and you are doing the right thing for that person. It’s a good feeling to know you’ve done a good job and it’s nice to be recognised by the Chief Constable for that. “I keep in touch with the family and I see the boy around from time and it’s good to see him enjoying his life!” PC Andy Perry, who is now a children and young persons officer in Clacton
It was just Sam’s third day in his job.
“I’d seen nothing like that before but you don’t think about what you are doing, in a way, your training and your instincts just kick in. I just had to help. “We started CPR and weren’t going to stop until the paramedics arrived to take over. Then we managed to get that little glimpse of life! “It was amazing to be commended by the Chief Constable and recognised for this. You know you’ve made a difference but it’s nice that other people know as well.” PC Sam Bennett
Former Essex officer Detective Sergeant James Hardingham, who was commended for his bravery and quick-thinking actions which, undoubtedly, saved a woman’s life.
James, who now serves with the Metropolitan Police, was off duty walking his dog in Braintree on October 6 last year when he noticed several members of the public trying to rescue a woman from the River Blackwater and went to help.
While the others rang 999 and one looked after his dog, James got down the steep, muddy riverbank and into the river, with disregard for his own safety, to pull the woman out of the water. But she struggled to break free from his grip, determined to re-enter it.
Braintree officers, PC Dean Bell, PC Amanda Butler and PCSO Stuart Stranger, then arrived and helped James to prevent the woman from causing herself any further harm. The four officers carried her up the steep riverbank where they were met by an ambulance.
Dean, Amanda and Stuart have received Chief Superintendent’s Commendations from their local policing area Commander for their part in the rescue.
“All the time, I was talking to the woman, trying to identify what the issues were. I had to get into the river to keep her head above water and then pull her up on to the bank. It was quite difficult. “But then the Essex officers arrived and helped me to get her up the bank, make sure she was safe and that she got the help she needed. “You just switch off and just deal with what’s in front of you. You don’t think about anything else. My main thoughts were that I’d got to look after her, I’d got to make sure she didn’t go back in the water, I didn’t want the members of the public to get hurt and I wanted to make sure everyone was safe. You disregard whatever happens to yourself. “It’s nice to be honoured but you are just doing your job. You just deal with it.” Detective Sergeant James Hardingham
PC Liz Ferris, who was commended for her bravery and quick-thinking actions which, undoubtedly, helped save a man’s life.
Liz was travelling home from a shift with our North Roads Policing Unit on 30 June 2020 when she spotted a motorcyclist who had been involved in a single-vehicle collision and had left the road in Tiptree. The man was unresponsive.
Liz contacted the police and ambulance control rooms to provide location details and then administered CPR for 15 minutes until a passing Patient Transport Service ambulance stopped.
She continued CPR while the casualty’s heart was successfully restarted by a defibrillator. The man was then taken to hospital by air ambulance.
A Leading Operations Manager for the East of England Ambulance Service stated that ‘without Police Constable Ferris’s presence and quick action, the patient would have been beyond help’.
“The motorcyclist was lying in the road. Members of the public had already removed his helmet and someone was ringing for an ambulance. “I went over and I could see he was grey and not breathing. He had some minor scrapes but nothing massive externally. “I began CPR and, while I was doing that, asked the person on the phone to ambulance control to come closer so I could speak to them and I then called for someone to phone our Force Control Room to ask one of my colleagues from Stanway Roads Policing Unit to bring a defribrillator. “When the Patient Transport Service ambulance arrived, the driver brought over her defibrillator and took over CPR to give me a rest while I cut the man’s clothes to prepare him for the defibrillator. “I was so grateful when she arrived, she was my knight in shining armour! I was shocked when the defibrillator said ‘Shock advised’. I did ‘shock’ him and shortly afterwards paramedics and the air ambulance arrived to take him to hospital. ”I was in a bit of shock afterwards so I just sat quietly on the steps of an ambulance, hoping I had done enough. “I am proud of my Commendation - sometimes you can go through your career and never achieve one, so it is very special to me to be recognised by the Chief Constable. Let’s hope it’s not a once in a career time.” PC Liz Ferris
“I ask Essex Police officers and staff to help people and keep them safe in times of need. I am proud of what these officers have done when faced with situations which most people won’t ever be faced with. “They have saved people’s lives and it is a privilege to be able to commend them for doing so. Officers will say they are just doing their jobs or that they were trained to do it but they have done extraordinary things and people are alive today because their instinct was to jump in and help. I am proud of them.” Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington
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