Dozens of police officers from Brighton and Hove were recognised for their courage, outstanding service and investigative skills at an awards ceremony yesterday (Monday 9 February).
Two of them were given a Chief Constable’s Commendation for saving the life of a 22-year-old Hungarian who was slashed with a knife last August.
PC Alec Barrett and PC Alison Deller were on duty in Brighton when they found a man lying in a pool of blood outside the NatWest Bank in Castle Square.
Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith said: “It appeared the male had been the victim of assault and had been gravely injured.
“Both officers saved the victim’s life by plugging his wound with their hands for 90 minutes.
“The officers kept up constant pressure on the victim’s neck to stop him bleeding to death even as he was taken from the street to the hospital, through x-rays and into surgery.
“The actions of both officers undoubtedly saved the young man’s life and by their actions displayed the highest standards of public service in what were particularly harrowing circumstances.
“Their efforts meant the victim was discharged from hospital just three days later and has made a full recovery.”
Mr Smith told all the officers at the ceremony – held in the Great Hall at Brighton College – that the public would be proud if they knew why they were being honoured.
He said: “People’s lives have been changed. People’s lives have been saved.
“When we become a constable we take an oath to protect people and property.”
He said that the officers receiving certificates of commendation had done a fantastic job but were a modest bunch.
He added: “We don’t do big bonuses. We just get certificates.”
But it was appropriate that they were being given out in the Great Hall, he said, because “you are truly great individuals and truly great teams in a truly great division”.
Chief Superintendent Steve Whitton told the officers and their families that the awards recognised “some really great examples of outstanding policing”.
He said that his officers had shown courage, putting the public’s safety ahead of their own, and they had saved people’s lives and handled complex investigations , securing important convictions.
Among the other commendations were the following.
Chief Inspector Dave Padwick, Acting Sergeant Andrea Leahy, PC Mark Beaumont and PC Anna Dowglass were given a divisional commendation for courage.
Chief Superintendent Whitton said: “These officers are to be commended for their courage and decisive action in preventing a woman from jumping from a ledge on the outside of a block of flats.
“When attending an unrelated incident at a block of flats in Brighton a female at the same location jumped from a flat window landing on a narrow ledge of a flat below approximately 50ft above the ground.
“She was clearly intoxicated and extremely vulnerable and threatening to end her life.
“Chief Inspector Padwick, Acting Sergeant Leahy, PC Beaumont and PC Dowglass attempted to engage with the female.
“But when she moved closer to the edge the officers, without any thought for their own safety, climbed through an open window and after a short struggle were able to bring the female to safety.”
He said that they had spent 40 minutes restraining the woman on the ledge in a really precarious position.
Sergeant Dave Bennett, PC Georgina Edge, PC Lizzie Luckman and PC James Conway were also given a divisional commendation for courage.
Superintendent Jayne Dando said that the officers were in plain clothes when they heard about a blood-covered man with two large knives and a pair of scissors late one evening last June.
She said: “He was believed to have committed a serious violent offence.
“They left their specific operation to complete an area search when they found the male who was overtly aggressive and was walking towards The Level.
“Despite it being later in the evening it was still full of people including children.
“They then made the decision to tackle the male before taser and firearms officers had arrived due to the imminent risk the male posed to the public.
“He was stopped and spoken to in close proximity by officers and refused to drop the knives.
“He then ran from the officers. He was chased as he ran towards the busy skate park and children’s play area.
“The officers then caught up with him and managed to get him to the floor and under control despite him still being in possession of two 12in knives and a pair of scissors.
“He was successfully arrested without injuries to the officers or himself.
“He was found guilty at Brighton Magistrates’ Court where the officers were praised for their actions and thanked on behalf of the residents of Brighton and Hove for their selfless and courageous actions.”
Detective Sergeant Julie Greenwood, Detective Constable Andrew Beaumont and Detective Constable Gemma Holley were given a divisional award for being outstanding investigators.
Superintendent Dando said: “DS Greenwood, DC Beaumont and DC Holley are to be commended for the meticulous investigation into historic child sex offences dating back over 35 years.
“The compassion, respect and dignity shown to the victim enabled her to finally have the strength to disclose the full horrors of what she endured as a child, despite trying on many occasions before.
“The offender was convicted and sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment for five rapes and multiple sexual assaults.
“The impact that DS Greenwood, DC Beaumont and DC Holley had was best expressed by the victim herself who stated in a letter: ‘The feeling of dread I woke up to every day has now gone.
“‘This is down to your fantastic team of police officers.’
“The effect that these officers had on the victim cannot be overstated.
“A letter of thanks was sent in which she commended them for ‘believing her’ and treating her with ‘respect and dignity’.
“You should feel utterly proud.”
PC Sasha Maddison, PC Stephen Matthews, PC Matthew Smith, PC Rachel Standing, PC Vicki Webb and Acting Sergeant Jodie White were all commended.
They went to a flat in Warwick Mount, Brighton, on Christmas Day where a man had been stabbed.
Despite their efforts – and those of the medics who arrived shortly afterwards – they were unable to save the victim.
A suspect was detained at the scene. He has not yet been tried.
Detective Constable Tracey Dixon was given a commendation for being an outstanding investigator.
Superintendent Dando said: “DC Dixon is to be congratulated for conducting an outstanding investigation into a number of historic sexual assaults which took place in the 1980s.
“After almost 30 years a victim came forward and disclosed that when only 14 years old, she had been groomed and sexually assaulted on numerous occasions.
“After completing the initial investigation DC Dixon discovered there was potentially a further victim and with very few details she managed to trace this person who was now living in Bristol.
“The offender was located and arrested and after a meticulous and thorough investigation resulted in the suspect being charged with 12 counts of indecent assault.
“Following a two-week trial the suspect was found guilty of seven indecent assaults and received a combined sentence of six and a half years, was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register and made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order.
“The actions of this man had a profound effect on the lives of the victims but thanks to DC Dixon’s hard work and dedication they were able to see the offender finally brought to justice.”