SPECIAL REPORT: Northamptonshire Police force honours the men and women who go above and beyond to help others

Volunteers who helped rescue a high-risk missing pensioner in Northampton received a special certificate at the Northamptonshire Police Awards this week.

The team from Northants Search and Rescue (NSAR) and Midshires Search and Rescue missed a day of work when they were called at 9am in September last year to help find the elderly dementia-sufferer the morning after she wandered into the town centre.

Northamptonshire Police Awards ceremony at Spinney Theatre, Northampton School for Girls.'Dennis Baker Award for force vision and values - Staff and Officers of thr FCR NNL-150520-092853009

Northamptonshire Police Awards ceremony at Spinney Theatre, Northampton School for Girls.'Dennis Baker Award for force vision and values - Staff and Officers of thr FCR NNL-150520-092853009

By 11am they gathered at Morrison’s car park and self-deployed into the search area, and by 1.40pm the woman was found at an address in Milton Street. Finding her disorientated and dehydrated, the volunteers administered first aid.

During a ceremony at Northampton School for Girls on Tuesday, Northamptonshire Police awarded them with the Chief Constable’s Certificate of Appreciation.

The volunteers included Steve King, Neil Balderson, Larry Byrne, James Lenton, Lisa Cummings and Scott Fitzsimmons from NSAR and Nick Murphy, Mel Towersey and Jane Holding from the Midshires team.

PC Alex Prentice and PC Debbie Wishart both received a Chief Constable’s Commendation and The Boatman Shield following a domestic incident in Corby in March.

They were deployed when a woman called saying her ex-partner was on his way to her home, intending to seriously harm her and her son.

Both officers arrived just as the man, armed with a large carving knife, tried to break in.

When he repeatedly “thrust” the knife towards the officers, catching PC Prentice’s protective vest, PC Wishart distracted the offender, giving PC Prentice a chance to strike him with his police baton and arrest him for attempted murder.

A statement by the police said: “They both demonstrated courage, cool resilience and outstanding professionalism in the face of extreme danger.”

After receiving the award, former RAF soldier PC Prentics said: “It’s not something we come across every day. Even though you prepare for these situations, they are still difficult to deal with.

“If that knife had reached an inch higher it would have missed my protective gear.”

“I feel very proud to have won such a prestigious award.”

Another Chief Constable’s Commendation was awarded to PC Rob Monk who apprehended a dangerous offender in October last year, even after he had stabbed him in the leg with a samurai sword.

Despite being incapacitated by the “significant injury”, PC Monk was able to control the offender with his police issue Taser until assistance arrived.

Chief Constable Adrian Lee described: “PC Monk condicted himself professionally in an extremely dangerous and challenging set of circumstanced displaying considerable resilience.”

Stepping down from the stage, PC Monk said: “I was very surprised to have won the award.

“Any other officer would have done the same, but I feel honoured to have our day-to-day policing recognised.

“I sustained nerve damage and we don’t yet know if it will make a full recovery.”

Commenting on all the awards, crime commissioner Adam Simmonds said: “Every day I am humbled reading the heroic efforts of people in the force; sometimes fearful, sometimes hilarious, but always very impressive.”

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Police veterans and new staff recognised for achievements

Tuesday’s ceremony was attended by Lord Lieutenant David Laing and High Sherrif of Northamptonshire, Dr Ahmed Mukhtar.

A series of awards were given out to recognise Northamptonshire Police staff who have dedicated more than 20 years to the service, winning various bravery awards along the way.

Sergeant Simon Worrell received the Federation Lifetime Achievement Award for “outstanding performance and contribution” to the force for more than 30 years.

A further 41 police officers, six police staff and nine special constables received their long service awards.

The efforts of newer members of the force were equally commended.

PC Bethany Warren was awarded Student Officer of the Year for her “aptitude in dealing with vulnerable victims and passion for helping them.”

Craig Barnett was named Police Cadet of the Year in recognition of his “commitment and professional attitude, his support for vulnerable members of the community and his eager responsibility for his own development.”

Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Henny Cameron for her “outstanding contribution” in general as a volunteer within the police force.

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Chief Constable: staff are ‘transforming the organisation’ into a leading UK police force

Introducing the ceremony, Chief Constable Adrian Lee said the awards recognised staff who contribute to “transforming the organisation” and

into a leading UK police force.

Addressing them, he said: “This is to reward people on the force who have shown significant bravery and who have gone beyond the call of duty.

“It is not about performance, but about the stories behind actions that are transforming the organisation. It is to thank you for what you have done, but also to encourage you to carry on leading us through the challenging times we are facing.

“Despite what you read in the media, people trust the police,” he added.

Other awards given during the Northamptonshire Police Awards 2015 ceremony included:

Police Officer of the Year – Sergeant Richard Cheshire, for professional and outstanding performance in 2014.

Special Constable of the Year Award – Special Constable Siobhan Jones, for professional and outstanding performance in 2014.

Hughes Cup for PCSO of the Year - PCSO Paul Hurst, for professional and outstanding performance in 2014.

The Maureen Wilson Team Award – Sergeant Daryl Lyon and Blackthorn team, for outstanding dedication as part of a team in tackling crime and disorder in Blackthorn, adopted as a Priority Area in Northampton, making it a safer place for the community.

David Ryan Award for Hate Crime – James Greig, for outstanding contribution to Hate Crime initiatives in 2014.

The Dennis Baker Memorial Award – Staff and officers of the FCR, for their commitment and enthusiasm to creating an excellent customer service team and a significant contribution towards delivering the Force vision and values.

The High Sheriff’s Trust and Confidence Award – PCSO Tony Sereno,

for outstanding contribution to increasing trust and confidence in Northamptonshire Police in 2014.

Deborah Jeans Leadership Award - Sergeant Rachel Grey, for outstanding leadership within the Force in 2014.

Deirdre Newham Cup

for Justice – Dangerous Persons Management Unit, for professional

and outstandingly successful performance as part of the Dangerous

Persons Management Unit.

Royal Life Saving Society Medal of Honour - Naomi Coupland for tireless service to the RLSS.

Negotiator Shield Award – Inspector Carl Sturman, for serving more than five years as a Hostage and Crisis Negotiator.