Chief commendations for contribution to Major Crime Unit investigation – High Wycombe
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Thames Valley Police officers were recognised for their parts in a Major Crime Unit investigation following the death of Andrew Ballantyne at the latest Chief Constable’s Awards ceremony.
They were recognised at the event at the Cotswolds Hotel and Spa near Chipping Norton on 24 January.
Detective Superintendent Kevin Brown, Detective Inspector Nicola Underhill, Detective Sergeant Victoria Hunt, PC Daniel Morris, Detective Constable James Heath, Detective Constable Kevin Smith and Detective Constable Kay Chahal were commended for their parts in the investigation into the death of Andrew Ballantyne in High Wycombe in 2021.
Whilst on patrol on the evening of 31 July 2021, PC Morris came across an incident involving several men gathered around someone on the floor.
He made efforts to detain one of the men who was filming the injured person. He was unable to detain the person but was able to identify some discarded items, which ultimately led to the identification of the suspect.
PC Morris’ actions contributed to the arrests, charges and convictions that followed.
D/Supt Brown and DI Underhill conducted a complex and demanding investigation, which oversaw a vast array of investigative techniques utilised to secure evidence.
DC Smith and DC Heath were able to obtain vital evidence, support the family throughout the case and secure their gratitude and confidence in the investigation as their roles as family liaison officers (FLOs).
DS Hunt and DC Chahal reviewed all of the material, prepared case files and worked with the prosecution team and expert witnesses to ensure a high quality of investigation was undertaken to seek the truth of what happened. This helped to result in acceptable pleas made by the defendants.
The officers’ excellent leadership, innovation in deploying of operations and tactics and tenacity in securing evidence in the very challenging complex investigation, enabled a successful prosecution and resulted in two men being convicted of manslaughter and three men being convicted of violent disorder.
They exhibited exceptional performance and took pride in delivering a high quality service, throughout the investigation into the unlawful killing of Andrew Ballantyne.
Det Supt Brown: “It is wonderful to receive the recognition for the outstanding commitment and dedication of the team involved in this operation.
“This was a very challenging and complex homicide investigation and I'm really proud of the whole team in getting justice for the bereaved family.”
Detective Constable Kevin Smith said: “I am grateful to receive the recognition for my role as FLO on the investigation.
“The award is a reflection of the work carried out by team as a whole getting justice for the family.”
Notes to editors: Detective Superintendent Kev Brown, Detective Constable Kevin Smith and PC Daniel Morris are available for interview. Please email [email protected] to arrange.