Exceptional officers commended at Chief Constable’s Award Ceremony
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Thames Valley Police Chief Constable John Campbell commended a number of our officers and presented 17 long service awards at a special ceremony on Wednesday (27/7).
CC Campbell said: “It was another great day here at the July Chief Constable’s Commendations and Long Service recognition.
“We were able to recognise volunteers, special constables and regular officers for long service and then we heard some fabulous stories of brave work, tenacious investigation and life-saving activities.
“Always a great event, an opportunity to meet friends and family who support our officers and staff through so much, it’s been great to be here.”
Detective Sergeant Jess Lawson
Among the recipients was Detective Sergeant Jess Lawson, who attended to collect a commendation for her investigation on a sexual assault in Slough in January 2019.
For over a year, the suspect remained unknown, and in her quest to locate him DS Lawson pursued many enquiries not normally attempted by a CID team.
This included heritage DNA enquiries and she even worked with the National Crime Agency to prepare for a national interfamilial DNA screen.
During the enquiry, other names were provided, and three other people were arrested and eliminated, with huge amounts of CCTV and witness enquiries completed in Slough.
These eliminations and complex enquiries helped build a strong case for when the eventual suspect, Winson Benta, then 59, of no fixed abode, was identified and subsequently sentenced in November 2020.
Others commended for their work in this case include Victim Contact Officer Detective Constable Anna Skuras, who worked closely with the victim to build their trust after this traumatic experience, and a member of the public who bravely intervened and challenged the offender, before contacting the police. His intervention saved the victim from further attack.
On receiving her award, DS Lawson said: “This was a very extensive investigation into a horrific attack on a vulnerable female.
“I worked tirelessly throughout this investigation and would like to thank and pay tribute to the victim for her bravery and dignity throughout.
“I was extremely pleased with the outcome for a dangerous offender to be found guilty.”
PCs Sophia Hannelly, Emma Clarke, Katie Pollard, Dan Lindsell and Special Constable Ashton Taylor were all commended for their actions in Operation Ibiza – a multiple stabbing in Milton Keynes the early hours of 1 January last year, in which Jay Fathers sadly died.
The team arrived at the scene within minutes of receiving the call and PCs Clarke and Pollard identified a man outside the property bleeding heavily and provided life-saving first aid.
PC Hannelly and SC Taylor entered the property to a chaotic scene with distressed people and another victim in the living room where they provided immediate first aid in an attempt to save his life until the ambulance arrived.
Meanwhile, PC Lindsell coordinated work between the groups and acted as liaison as paramedics began to arrive.
With 18 months service, his ability to stand back and coordinate between other officers was exceptionally calm and controlled.
SC Taylor had paraded for his second-ever shift as a special constable, and his actions at the scene, providing first aid, working alongside ambulance crews and securing key witnesses, despite their panic and alarm was calm, composed and beyond his age and level of experience. He has since gone on to record several hundred voluntary hours.
The officers’ actions also contributed to the charge and conviction for Callum Aylett, aged 21, of Juniper Gardens, Walnut Tree, Milton Keynes, for Jay’s murder and for inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on another man. He was jailed for life in November last year.
SC Taylor said: “It's such a privilege to be awarded this commendation.
“I joined Thames Valley Police to make that special contribution, so I'm honoured to be gifted with this award.”
PC Clarke said: “I am very proud to be receiving a Chief Constable’s award for my role as a police constable. I feel valued receiving this award.”
PC Lindsell said: “It's an honour to have received this award, the night in question was challenging for the whole team due to a number of other serious incidents happening at the same time.
“Although we have been recognised individually, I like to think of this as recognition of the entire team's efforts that night.”
Sergeant Richard Humpherson
Sergeant Richard Humpherson was commended for his role in leading a team of officers to locate and save the life of a high-risk missing person intent on taking his own life in Eton Wick in June 2020.
He exhibited outstanding decision-making and the core responsibility of protecting and saving life.
After an extensive search, the man was found on the banks of the River Thames in the early hours of the morning.
Sgt Humpherson lead an excellent collective effort between ground and air staff to extricate the man from the river, get him on to a canvas stretcher and physically carry him some considerable distance cross country to a safe location so SCAS could treat him.
Sgt Humpherson continued to manage ground units and over-saw those working on the man on the roadside until the ambulance arrived.
Sgt Humpherson said: “I am privileged to manage an excellent team of officers and on this day through dedicated team work we were able to achieve an outstanding result.
“I could not have done it without them so I dedicate this award to the members of the Incident and Crime Response Team 1, Windsor and Maidenhead.”
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Wayne Bowcock closed the ceremony, saying: “It’s a real honour and privilege to be here.
“The fire and rescue service have their own annual award ceremony and I often describe, as CC John Campbell did at the start, that it’s one of the highlights of my year to recognise my own staff and attend award ceremonies, welcoming families along to see and hear about the fantastic work that you do.
“Listening to the events of today and things that you’ve been recognised for and your dedication and service.
“It’s really very humbling and it gives me a great opportunity to thank you from a more objective position, in terms of outside of policing.”
Notes to editor:
DS Lawson and Sgt Humpherson are available for interviews. Email [email protected] to arrange.