Off-duty PC given commendation for evacuating Red Hot Buffet restaurant in Northampton during fire

A police constable who helped evacuate a burning restaurant in Northampton has been given a bravery award for his actions.

PC Rob Welsford was leaving the Cineworld cinema in Sixfields last December when his son noticed smoke coming from the roof of the nearby Red Hot Buffet building.

Immediately spotting how quickly the fire would spread, he and another man - who turned out to be a soldier, Sapper David Emery - ran into the building to get people out straight away.

He said: “I don’t think the staff realised just how serious the fire was because, as we approached it, they were slowly gathering their coats and sorting out the till.

“David and I both ran into the building. He looked back over his shoulder and shouted to stay back and I shouted back: ‘No, it’s okay - police’, as if that made me fireproof.

“Both of us just bellowed at the people to get themselves out, which they did, and had a quick look through the building to make sure nobody had been left.”

The flames quickly swept through the building, which eventually burned to the ground.

This week PC Welsford was awarded the Boatman Shield and Chief Constable’s commendation at the 2014 Northamptonshire Police Awards.

The commendation mentions that the ceiling was cracking and shrouded in smoke yet he checked “every room, under every table and inside every cupboard”.

Afterwards the PC down-played his bravery, describing the heat as “just enough to slightly melt a marshmallow”.

Modest Police Constable Welsford said the young soldier who helped him clear the burning restaurant should also get recognition.

He said: “I told the first fire officer on the scene that we ought to get David’s name and address because, for my money, he did a very good and commendable thing and he was only 19. ”

Of his own actions, modest Rob added: “All the people I know, given the circumstances, would have done exactly the same.”

Northamptonshire Police’s long service and annual awards ceremony took place this week with officers and staff receiving accolades for their dedication to the force.

A total of 24 officers and 15 police staff were honoured for long service and 59 officers and staff for outstanding work.

The following awards were presented:

Roger Flawn Memorial Cup Student Officer of the Year

Presented to Constable Martin Waller in recognition of being the best student officer of the year.

The Maureen Wilson Team Award

Presented to the Operation Nene Team in recognition of their outstanding performance and commitment and team performance.

Office of Police and Crime Commissioner, Innovation Award 2014

Presented to Sergeant Wyn Hughes in recognition of his promotion of the use of body worn video equipment.

Hughes Cup for PCSO of the Year

Presented to PCSO Kirsten Bates in recognition of her outstanding performance and achievements during the past 12 months .

Chief Constable Commendation

Presented to Constable Rob Welsford in recognition of his bravery in dealing with dangerous incidents and his exceptional commitment to duty and the safety of the public .

The Boatman Shield

Presented to Detective Sergeant Sam Parkerson and PC Rob Welsford in recognition of an outstanding act of courage and bravery. Constable Welsford helped with the evacuation of Red Hot World Buffet in Northampton on the night of its fire.

Chief Constable Commendation

Presented to Sergeant Parkerson in recognition for her bravery and commitment to the vision and values of policing and bringing offenders to justice and putting the prevention of crime ahead of her own safety.

Superintendent’s Award

Presented to Tim Farey, Kev Dartnell, Karen Reeve, Constable Carl Osborne, Constable Ian McDonald, Constable Dale Hillyer, Sergeant Kevin O’Keefe and Sergeant Lara Alexander-Lloyd in recognition of an outstanding piece of work in safely locating, protecting and defending a missing and vulnerable child.

The Dennis Baker Memorial Award

Presented to Michelle Crook and Sarah Irving in recognition of their enthusiasm for and commitment to creating an outstanding customer service team.

Police Federation Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented to Detective Chief Inspector Tom Davies in recognition of his dedication, work and service to the public and his outstanding performance and contribution to the force after 30 years of service.

Police Officer Of The Year

Presented to Constable Stephen Roffe in recognition of his drive, hard work, commitment and infectious enthusiasm for the role of police officer in the past year.

Deborah Jeans Leadership Award

Presented to Sergeant Steve Briggs in recognition of his outstanding leadership during the last 12 months.

David Ryan Memorial Cup

Presented to PCSO Phil Wane in recognition of his outstanding contribution to a hate crime initiative and investigation in the preceding year

The High Sheriff’s Trust and Confidence Award

Presented to Corby Team 5 in recognition of their outstanding contribution to increasing trust and confidence in Northamptonshire Police in 2013. Sergeant Steve Briggs, Constable Nikki Tebbutt, Constable Michael Jones, Constable Debbie Wishart, Constable Alex Prentice, Constable Jason Edwards, Constable Mark Walsh, Constable Chris Gosmore, Constable Keeley Harper, Constable Luke Carswell, Constable David Forman and Special Constable Ellis Bowman received the award.

Deirdre Newham Cup for Justice

Presented to Ann-Marie Lawson from Groundwork Northampton in recognition for her hard work and commitment in supporting young people in the Northamptonshire’s communities.

Commandant’s Cup for Special Constable of the Year

Presented to Special Constable Peter Hazelgrove in recognition of his outstanding performance and achievements during the past 12 months.

John Fursey Cup

Presented to staff member Kathy Church in recognition of her outstanding lifetime achievement to Northamptonshire Police.

Police Staff Member Of The Year

Presented to Laura Jones in recognition of her outstanding performance and achievements during the past 12 months.

Certificate of Appreciation of Chaplaincy

Presented to lead Chaplain Viv Baldwin on behalf of the chaplains in recognition of the dedication of the force’s chaplaincy team in providing support and advise to officers and staff .

Lord Lieutenant’s Certificate for Meritorious Service

Presented to Sergeant Major Instructor Eve Richardson, Army Cadet Force, in recognition of her dedication, commitment and energy in sharing her expertise as an adult volunteer instructor.

Lord Lieutenant’s Certificate for Meritorious Service

Presented to Lieutenant Graeme Dryden, Sea Cadet Corps, in recognition of his passionate, positive and energetic demeanour and his inspiration and dynamism to continue to promote the growth and development of new and existing units.

Judge’s Commendation

Presented to Detective Constable Trish Coleman in recognition of her excellent report writing skills, victim care and professional investigation.