Kent Police Officers honoured at awards ceremony

Courageous police officers who lifted an overturned vehicle in Maidstone to rescue a motorist who was trapped and unconscious have been recognised for their efforts.

Sergeant Michael Newman and Temporary Sergeant Christopher Ward were first to the scene of a road collision on 2 December 2017, where they found the victim in a life threatening situation. Despite the risk to their own safety they managed to hold the vehicle up in order to pull the woman clear. She later went on to make a full recovery.

On Wednesday 16 May 2018, both officers were recognised for their ‘outstanding dedication and commitment to Kent Police’, at a Divisional Commander’s Awards ceremony. Held at Tonbridge School, the ceremony also recognised Detective Sergeant Dave Higham and Temporary Sergeant Edward Kavanagh, who in March 2018 responded to a man in distress, sitting on top of a building in Tunbridge Wells. They quickly struck up a rapport and conversation with the man and eventually managed to persuade him to move back from the edge and come down from the building safely.

Divisional Commander, Chief Supt Julia Chapman presented a total of 17 Certificate of Merit awards during the ceremony and said: ‘Kent Police officers are called to difficult and potentially dangerous situations every day. They regularly put themselves in harm’s way to protect members of the public, which is why it is right they receive the recognition they deserve.’

Others who received awards at the ceremony included:

· Crime Scene Investigator Stuart Brown and Detective Constable Raj Dusanjh, for their work in an investigation which led to the capture and conviction of three criminals burgling homes across west Kent. Using his own initiative, CSI Brown carried out an additional search of an area close to one of the crime scenes. He located a discarded drinks bottle which provided a match to one of the offender’s DNA and which later ensured a successful prosecution.

· Detective Constable Hayley Campbell, who whilst on leave returned to work to ensure a drug dealer was prevented from fleeing the country, after cocaine estimated with a street value of more than £2 million was found at a property in Hildenborough. The offender was later sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

· Detective Constable Rebecca Taft, who was recognised for her outstanding ability to support vulnerable victims. DC Taft dealt with a recent harrowing case involving the neglect and abuse of a young child. She worked closely with the child’s adoptive family to ensure there was sufficient evidence to prosecute Jodie Simpson and Tony Smith, both of whom were later each sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

· PC Toby Barnes, PC Christopher Clancy, PC Mark Desforges and Sergeant Andy Miller, who showed ‘incredible empathy and compassion’ for an Armed Forces Veteran, who was suffering problems, related to his experiences in service. They worked tirelessly to identify opportunities to assist his future wellbeing and steer him away from crime.

Chief Supt Julia Chapman added: ‘I am incredibly proud to lead such a dedicated team. People may say they are just doing their jobs and that is what they are paid to do, but like anyone else police officers still have to deal with the day to day pressures of normal life, balancing spending time with their families with protecting vulnerable people in the community.’