The winners of Northamptonshire Police's annual Long Service and Force awards were announced at a ceremony at their Wootton Hall headquarters last night.
The awards are handed out in recognition of officers' bravery, hard work and long service to the county force.
Members of the public are also celebrated for their actions and are given a Chief Constable's commendation.
John Fursey Police Staff Lifetime Achievement Award - Bridget Hodgson
Bridget has worked for Northamptonshire Police in a variety of roles for almost 40 years and is currently the manager of the Firearms Licensing Department. She has a level of responsibility that carries without any fanfare or self-interest and her ability to apply professional judgement and be mindful of the possible consequences is outstanding.
Bridget reviews all of the complex firearms applications personally and has to weigh up a significant amount of information. She deals with all of the complex cases and represents the force at court in appeal cases. Northamptonshire is deemed a safer place because of the time, effort and passion that Bridget puts into her job and the motivation she instils in her team.
Superintendents’ Association Award for Excellence - Detective Constable Cathy O’Connor
Operation Zilch was launched in 2016 and relates to the prosecution of Nicholas and Joan Taylor, of Briar Hill, Northampton, who were found guilty of 94 drug and child sex abuse charges in March this year. It became apparent the sexual abuse could potentially span multiple victims over a 15-year period.
Initially, 32 people were visited by officers as they had links to the suspect when he was suspected of sexually abusing children. Nearly all who made disclosures required help, with many still dealing with the abuse. Nicholas Taylor was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 18 years. Joan Taylor was jailed for 18 years with half to be served before release. After sentencing, Judge Nicholas Dean QC recognised the extraordinary efforts of the investigation team and stated he would formally recognise them through a judge’s commendation.
Dennis Baker Memorial Award for Vision and Values - Inspector Daryl Lyon
Insp Lyon’s enthusiastic contribution to Project Redemption, which involved working with offenders to divert them away from crime, is to be commended. The project ultimately morphed into early intervention working with students close to exclusion and therefore at significant risk of falling foul of the criminal justice system.
He currently juggles duties as a sector inspector along with running Integrated Offender Management and working with the Youth Offending Service. He is able to retain his enthusiasm and will to create a benchmark system of working with repeat offenders while carrying the challenging role of sector inspector.
Deborah Jeans Leadership Award - Sergeant Becky Izzard
From the outset, Becky clearly epitomised what Northamptonshire Police wants in a leader. She shows great resilience and is always on hand to both offer advice and attend incidents when required. Becky is always calm and controlled in her approach and offers a methodical solution to problems.
Her excellent management of incidents included ensuring the integrity of a busy crime scene as well as responding empathetically to the welfare needs of officers, who had unsuccessfully tried to save the life of a victim. This would have been a significant challenge to an experienced supervisor but Becky took it in her stride as quietly and professionally as she has every other element of her time as a sergeant. She has gained the absolute confidence of her team, peers and senior officers. Her emotional intelligence and inspirational supervisory style are an example to every officer of any rank.
Deirdre Newham Cup for Justice - Detective Constable Dave Bastuba, Detective Constable Neil Carr, Detective Constable Kev Macdonald, Constable Paul Neeson, Constable George Swinfield, and Detective Constable Julie Turnell
During early 2017, Operation Agar was established to tackle a gang believed to be responsible for a series of armed robberies in Corby, Kettering and surrounding areas. The gang were targeting convenience stores and would threaten sales assistants with claw hammers and a machete while demanding cash from the till.
The gang concealed their identities during the offences and were linked to other offences, including the theft of number plates and vehicles. On January 24, 2017, in Turnell Lane, Corby, officers approached a parked vehicle, believed to be stolen, containing five occupants. The officers identified themselves to the occupants, at which point the vehicle reversed at speed catching one of the officer’s leg under the driver’s open door, knocking them to the floor and dragging them along the road. The offenders were later arrested and the outcome of this investigation led to the gang receiving custodial sentences totalling 19 years.
Maureen Wilson Memorial Team Award - Special Inspector Richard Bradley and Special Inspector Martin Swan
During the 2014/2015 football season, Richard Bradley and Martin Swan started supporting the Football Spotters at Northampton Town matches. These were not policed matches but events attended by way of community engagement. They have both displayed a true commitment to policing football in Northamptonshire, having supported Northampton Town matches as well as Corby Town and Brackley Town when required.
They have been the driving force for success as a unit, by maintaining a regular team, which enabled young in-service specials the opportunity to develop, gain competence and confidence. They have worked throughout the footballing calendar, building their knowledge of the football community and the football risk group. The pair has also become invaluable to the spotting team but also to match commanders during policed matches.
Boatman Shield of Courage - Matt Baker (retired) and Constable Taylor Ellis
Matt and Taylor attended a report of a house fire in Woodland Close, Duston, in November 2016. Despite thick black smoke, Matt and Taylor entered the property and managed to crawl to the kitchen where an elderly lady was lying on the floor. They then proceeded to drag her down the hall and to safety. Both officers were treated for smoke inhalation. Matt and Taylor showed both courage and fearlessness that was far above and beyond normal responsibilities and they are recognised for their outstanding bravery.
The Society for the Protection of Life from Fire Award - Matt Baker (retired) and Constable Taylor Ellis
Awarded in testimony of distinguished conduct while engaged in the rescue of life from fire on November 11, 2016.
Royal Humane Society Award - Matt Baker (retired) and Constable Taylor Ellis
Awarded for having on November 11, 2016, at personal risk, courageously assisted in saving the life of a woman from a house fire in Northampton.
Royal Humane Society Award - Simon Johnson
Awarded for having, on August 6, 2016, at great personal risk courageously saved the life of a man in Gipsy Lane, Kettering, whose car had crashed into a field.
Chief Constable’s Commendations
Mike Britton (Goodwill Solutions)
Mike is the managing director of Goodwill Solutions, a self-funded business established in 2008. A community interest company based in Northampton, Goodwill Solutions specialises in the training and recruitment of ex-offenders. More than 80 per cent of Mike’s workforce is made up of ex-offenders and today it funds back to work programmes supplying free forklift courses and NVQs in warehousing annually to more than 120 clients.
Mike was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year award this year for his efforts to make Northamptonshire a safer place. His partnership with Northamptonshire Police is invaluable. He has provided food and clothing to human trafficking victims, office space and facilities free of charge to Early Intervention teams and the Integrated Offender Management team.
Simon Johnson (Retired)
On Saturday, August 6, last year there was a serious road traffic collision in Gipsy Lane, Kettering. After the initial collision a car caught fire and had it not been for the reactions of retired police officer Simon Johnson, the driver could have easily lost his life. Mr Johnson was passing in his own car and arrived very soon after the incident had taken place.
He approached the driver’s door and the driver was still in the vehicle with his seatbelt on. Simon needed to physically remove the driver from the vehicle and he put his own life in danger in order to ensure the safety of a complete stranger.
Constable Johnny Brereton
On Saturday, February 4, this year PC Brereton, together with colleagues, carried out a welfare check on a man whose mental health was deteriorating rapidly and who was making threats to harm himself and the Mental Health Team. The man was armed with a handgun and a claw hammer in his flat. Officers withdrew to the car park. PC Brereton remained calm and continued to feedback all relevant information to his colleagues, under challenging circumstances. The man entered the car park and headed immediately towards another officer with the handgun and claw hammer. PC Brereton moved into the open to draw the man away from his location. PC Brereton is commended for his courage and bravery and the calmness he displayed throughout the incident, putting other officers safety before his own.
Annette and Phillip Goss
Annette and Philip are the next-door neighbours to identical twins, Elaine and Denise. Although having been neighbours for more than 20 years, the two households had little contact with each other. Denise and Elaine worked, shopped and socialised together, never being apart for a day. The sisters were avid shoppers and had accumulated a large quantity of clothing and shoes to the point that they had run out of space.
In May last year, Denise suffered a fall at home and died of her injuries. On behalf of HM Coroner, officers conducted an investigation into the circumstances of Denise’s passing, which meant that her surviving sister Elaine could not return to the family home for quite some time. Neighbours Annette and Philip took Elaine into their home, to live with them and help her through this very difficult time to make her house habitable again. Thirteen months after the death of Denise, Elaine was still living with the Goss family while refurbishments were taking place to her home. The officer in the case DC Colleen White was so moved by the generosity and care that Annette and Philip have shown to Elaine, nominated them for a Chief Constable’s Commendation.