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Brave officers and members of the public celebrated at Norfolk Police awards

PUBLISHED: 10:09 12 October 2018

PC Frances Peters with her new recruit, Billy, at Norfolk police’s Wymondham headquarters.Picture: MUSTARD TV

PC Frances Peters with her new recruit, Billy, at Norfolk police’s Wymondham headquarters.Picture: MUSTARD TV

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A Norfolk officer who bravely tackled a samurai sword-wielding attacker who claimed he was going to kill his wife has been recognised at an annual police awards ceremony.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at NOSCAS 2018. PIC: Neil PerryChief Constable Simon Bailey at NOSCAS 2018. PIC: Neil Perry

PC Frances Peters was the first officer on scene at a property in Great Ellingham, near Attleborough, after police received a call that a man was going to kill his wife.

The officer, a dog handler, arrived at the remote farmhouse to find the man standing in the kitchen.

PC Peters could not see any trace of his wife and continued to try to speak to him, when he looked up and put his phone on the floor.

He then picked something up and the officer realised he was holding a sword in each hand - a Japanese samurai sword in one and a Katana sword in the other.

NOSCAS 2018 winners on stage: PIC: Peter WalshNOSCAS 2018 winners on stage: PIC: Peter Walsh

PC Peters shouted at him to put the swords down, but he ignored her and walked towards her with the swords in his hands.

She realised in this “heart stopping” moment that her dog was not with her and her colleagues had not yet arrived.

The officer used her pava spray and her personal safety skills, so she could restrain her attacker and safely handcuff him.

Those brave actions earned PC Peters a bravery award from the chief constable at the force’s annual Norfolk Safer Community Awards (NOSCAs) held in Norwich on Thursday night (October 11).

NOSCAS 2018. PIC: Neil PerryNOSCAS 2018. PIC: Neil Perry

Presenting the award to PC Peters, Norfolk’s chief constable Simon Bailey hailed the officer’s bravery and said her actions “without doubt saved a family whilst putting herself in a very dangerous situation”.

PC Peters, whose actions in May last year also earned her an award at this year’s Police Federation Bravery awards, said: “It makes you feel very proud to get something from your force.”

PC Peters added it was “nice to be recognised” but insisted it was something any police officer would have done.

It was just one of a multitude of awards presented on Thursday night at an event which recognised the selfless actions of police officers, staff and other members of the public in helping to keep Norfolk safe.

The High Sheriff of Norfolk Charles Watt, his Honour Judge Holt and Norwich’s Lord Mayor Martin Schmierer were among representatives from organisations around the county which attended the ceremony at the Holiday Inn hotel near Norwich Airport.

Acting Sergeant Amy Lucas and PC Chris Boden, two family liaison officers who supported the family of dog walker Peter Wrighton after he was brutally murdered in East Harling Woods last summer received the Hannah Witheridge Special Recognition Award.

The award, named in memory of the former Hemsby student who was murdered in Thailand in 2014, was presented by Hannah’s sister Laura who knows only too well the importance of the role they play.

Mr Bailey, who praised the officers for going “over and above what is normally expected”, said: “The role of the family liaison officer plays a critical part in any investigation and this investigation was no exception and demanded the highest level of communication, compassion and professionalism in dealing with a grieving family facing the most traumatic circumstances. The officers worked long hours at short notice to provide this family with much needed emotional support.”

Mr Bailey, national lead for Child Abuse Investigation, also presented a special recognition award to DC Tom Farrell, an officer within the joint intelligence unit who since 2014 has been responsible for proactively targeting people downloading and sharing indecent images of children online.

Mr Bailey said: “Tom’s work under Operation Bane has led to the arrest of 270 individuals across Norfolk and Suffolk and almost 100 children have been safeguarded as a direct consequence.”

As part of DC Farrell’s work he has developed an innovative solution to target sophisticated online offenders who had remained undetectable for many years.

He presented his solution to the Home Office and was invited to work as part of a department tasked with challenges created by criminal use of modern technology.

After being presented with the award, DC Farrell said the recognition made him “more and more determined” to continue his work to target those who seek to harm and exploit children online.

Norfolk’s former deputy chief constable Nick Dean, who has recently been unveiled as Cambridge’s chief constable, was also presented with a special recognition award from Mr Bailey.

An emotional Mr Dean told those watching on it was something he did not deserve, but said “it’s been a wonderful 26 years” serving the people of Norfolk.

There were a total of 17 awards presented on the night, including Police officer and special officer of the year which were both sponsored by the EDP.

Mr Bailey said: “This event is a fantastic opportunity for the constabulary to celebrate the efforts of its police officers, staff, partners and members of the community. To recognise the difference they make to improve the quality of life for our communities and to keep Norfolk the safe county it is.”

NOSCAS 2018: Other winners

• Student Officer of the Year (Sponsored by City College Norwich)

Winner: PC Tom Rimmer

PC Rimmer has thoroughly impressed his colleagues since arriving in Aylsham earlier this year. The outstanding quality of his work has been displayed in a number of cases including the arrest of a wanted man, playing an active part in numerous drug warrants and for his care of families involved in a case of sexual offences against children.

• The John (Cecil) Mason Volunteer of the Year (Sponsored by Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk)

Winner: Sally Mack

Sally joined the constabulary as a volunteer three years ago initially to assist Road Policing Family Liaison Officers. She identified that witnesses of accidents could also be considered victims in need of support. Sally has helped many people cope with the trauma of horrific incidents and is described as an absolute credit to the team providing excellent service and help to those in crisis. She recently won the Volunteer Award at the British Association for Women in Policing ceremony.

• Special Constabulary Officer of the Year (Sponsored by Eastern Daily Press)

Winner: Special Constable Astrid Barber

Special Constable Barber has worked on a number of assignments and operations, including many football deployments at Carrow Road and looks after new student special constables within the West Norwich district as a cadet leader.

Astrid works in a nursery as a full-time job, which takes a special kind of patience and care and this is reflected in the voluntary work she does for the constabulary. She is described as conscientious and hard-working with great attention to detail.

• Police Cadet of the Year (Sponsored by Sopra Steria)

Winners: Police Cadet Gabe Oyawa and Police Cadet Hannah Needham

Hannah joined the North Norfolk Cadets last year and was quickly promoted to Lead Cadet due to her eagerness to work hard and help others. She is a positive role model, attending all Cadet events and suggesting opportunities for further events the Cadets should attend. Hannah is described as easy going but hard working, a shining example of a police cadet and a real asset to the Unit.

Gabe is described as an amazing role model whose delightful nature inspires and encourages others. His enthusiastic and positive attitude shines at community events and his work ethic is described as fantastic. During a cadet weekend in the Peak District, he showed great perseverance during a strenuous hike in relentless heat, completing the hike, even managing to encourage others who were lagging behind.

• Police Staff Member of the Year (Sponsored by Reed Specialist Recruitment)

Winner: Charlotte Lilley

Charlotte has played a key role in reducing the number of hoax calls made to the police by children. After an increase in calls last year, she initiated an educational video highlighting the serious consequences of misusing 999. Charlie was also involved in a complex 999 call from the victim of a serious crime. Her quick thinking to alert the control room Inspector and to gain the victim’s trust enabled a quick arrest of the suspect who was subsequently charged with a number of offences.

• Young Citizen(s) of the Year (Sponsored by Shell UK Exploration & Production Ltd)

Winners: Warren Ames and Matthew McCabe

Warren was involved in an incident in May this year whilst on his way to school when he found an elderly man who had fallen. Although this made him late for school, Warren called an ambulance and waited with the man until it arrived. His nominator says Warren deserves praise for his good deed, demonstrating that he acted with both compassion and maturity.

Despite all the challenges Matthew has faced, he is now leading a busy and fulfilling life, growing in confidence and often showing his lively sense of humour. He has recently joined Wymondham Police Cadets where he has been involved in several projects and is a popular member of the group. His love of The Bill set his career goal early on to achieve his Public Services qualification when he leaves school, with his ultimate goal being to become a police officer. Matthew intends using his own life experiences to help others.

• Investigator of the Year (Sponsored by Barclays)

Winner: Detective Constable Matthew Symonds

DC Symonds has worked on many serious and complex cyber-crime investigations in the last year, combatting the growing threat of children being exploited online.

His outstanding and detailed knowledge of complex investigative methods has helped to protect the most vulnerable. In a recent case, DC Symonds, while working on a separate investigation, linked it to a dangerous offender previously unknown to the justice system. As a result, a very young victim was identified and safeguarded.

• Problem Solver of the Year (Sponsored by Northgate Public Services)

Winner: Police Sergeant Danny Leach

Sergeant Leach has been instrumental in the implementation of a drone capacity for Norfolk Constabulary. His knowledge and expertise of using drones alongside a well-coordinated rescue effort enabled him to systematically search and find a man missing at Titchwell Marsh. He has since made a full recovery. Danny is continuing to working hard to support the future of police drones use in Norfolk.

• Community Citizen(s) of the Year (Sponsored by Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk)

Winner: The Lunch Club

The Lunch Club in Felthorpe has grown from humble beginnings to become a well- supported and invaluable community of people who meet once a month in the local village pavilion to provide lunches, in particular for the elderly who may be alone or unable to regularly meet up with friends or family.

It is run by volunteers who aim to bring together members of the village and surrounding area. The Lunch Club provides a social lifeline for many and has promoted a sense of community in the village.

• Community Officer of the Year – Police Officer (Sponsored by Eastern Daily Press)

Winner: Police Constable Nigel Robinson

PC Robinson is one of the dedicated beat managers in Great Yarmouth who is described as a strong and ever-visible presence in the town centre, respected by residents and traders alike.

Nigel works with store detectives, street wardens and CCTV staff to help combat retail theft. He has also focused on tackling drug crimes and is currently working proactively to try and reduce street begging in Great Yarmouth. One of his nominators says Nigel brings a wealth of knowledge and policing skills to his beat

• Response Team of the Year (Sponsored by Dell EMC)

Winner: Team 1 Norwich West

Team 1 Norwich West has had a successful year and shown a can-do attitude to everything that comes their way. They carry a high crime workload and have successfully prevented drug-related crime and saved lives. Members of the team recently received formal recognition after saving the lives of two vulnerable people. Their work ethic, personal pride and standards are admirable and worthy of recognition.

• Police Dog of the Year (Sponsored by Royal Canin)

Chosen by Norfolk Constabulary’s Facebook community

Winner: Police Constable Jamie Ward and Police Dog Neeko

PC Jamie Ward and PD Neeko were deployed to a pursuit in the Wisbech area in October 2017 which involved a Volkswagen Golf.

The driver was wanted by police, suspected of being involved in the supply of drugs. The pursuit then turned onto a road with a dead end, resulting in the driver and passenger abandoning the car, running across the A47 bypass into a field and then onto a nearby housing estate.

PC Ward arrived on scene five minutes after the car had been abandoned and when directed to the last known sighting of the driver. Neeko immediately picked up a track, taking PC Ward towards a large fence which surrounded the back garden of a house. The area was searched to no avail but Neeko picked up another track running parallel to the row of houses.

After getting to the last house, PD Neeko lifted his head and pulled towards the driveway where, underneath a parked caravan, he found one of the suspects hiding.

The suspect was identified as the driver of the Volkswagen who was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, failing to stop and possession of an offensive weapon.

• Outstanding Team of the Year (Sponsored by Slater and Gordon)

Winner: Children and Young Persons – Safer Schools

The Safer Schools Partnership Team identified the need to educate children in Norfolk on drug-trafficking and worked alongside a theatre company as well as with Schools Officers to produce a play highlighting the risks involved.

All secondary schools in Norfolk agreed to host the play and feedback was incredibly positive, praising the team for engaging students in difficult and challenging topics. Steps are now being taken to expand the reach to other age groups.

• Safer Neighbourhood Team of the Year (Sponsored by Co-op Secure Response)

Winner: Norwich East Safer Neighbourhood Team

Norwich East Safer Neighbourhood Team is nominated in recognition of their professionalism and hard work in keeping Norwich a safe and enjoyable place to live and visit. The team has tackled crime and anti-social behaviour in the city centre. Their dedication to increasing the visibility of officers and working effectively to engage members of the public and businesses has raised the positive profile of Norfolk Constabulary considerably.

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