Celebrating outstanding police work and acts of bravery in Bedfordshire

Winners of the Above and Beyond Award, from left to right,  Keleel Baksh, John Laidlaw, Janice Heath and Colleen Atkins MBE (who presented the award)
Winners of the Above and Beyond Award, from left to right, Keleel Baksh, John Laidlaw, Janice Heath and Colleen Atkins MBE (who presented the award)

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, celebrated outstanding police work and acts of bravery across the Force at the 2018 Bedfordshire Police Awards last week (June 6).

The awards, which highlighted the work of officers, volunteers, and staff as well as outstanding acts by the public, were sponsored by the Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Commissioner Holloway presenting an award to Investigation Officer Gary Hales

Commissioner Holloway presenting an award to Investigation Officer Gary Hales

The event was held at King’s House in Bedford and featured awards such as the Above and Beyond Award, Volunteer of the Year, Changing Culture Award and the Victim Service Award.

The main award of the night - the Chief Constable’s Protecting the Shield Police Officer of the Year - went to Sergeant Karen Jarman who was assaulted on duty and showed great determination to return to work. Sgt Jarman now works with the new recruits to Bedfordshire Police and helps to provide them with advice and support.

“It has been a tough journey for me to recover from the physical and mental effects of an assault on duty. I was shocked to be nominated but it is amazing to have been recognised in this way. The support I had got me back doing the job I love and to have won this award is a very emotional and immensely proud moment in my career,” said Sgt Jarman.

Mrs Holloway said: “My office worked with the Force to try to put on a really special night of celebration for our officers and staff and those members of the public who have gone the extra mile to support us.

“There were too many winners to single every single person out but some were especially memorable. It’s particularly fitting that, during Volunteers’ Week, our Special Constabulary won the Volunteer of the Year Award for their 100 days of action campaign to boost community safety.

“The Special Constable of the Year was Simon Petch, Deputy Headmaster of Putnoe Primary School who became an outstanding Special Constable after meeting our Crime Prevention Officers, while delivering one of our Junior Police Squads, working with some of his pupils.”

Special Constable Simon Petch said: “I was enormously flattered to receive my award. I am extremely passionate about my role as a teacher and Special Constable and hope the recognition of my service helps to inspire a new batch of young people (and possibly a few fellow teachers) to pursue a role in Bedfordshire Police in the future.

“Joining the police myself, seems like a fitting tribute to the success of the Junior Police Squad programme. It was incredibly well received by the children, when piloted at my school, and proved to be the motivation I needed to fulfil my childhood dream of becoming a police officer.”

The Above and Beyond Award was presented to three members of the public. After hearing a woman screaming in the early hours of the morning, John Laidlaw, Janice Heath and Keleel Baksh intervened and helped a victim of sexual assault.

John Laidlaw said: “In my opinion, you should always step in when you can. I don’t see it as anything special, you just do what you can to help. Both Janice and I were very surprised to have won the award. We just went and did what we felt was the right thing to do. I couldn’t have lived with myself if I hadn’t.”

Mrs Holloway added: “It’s fantastic that members of the public still step up to support others in extremis and this award was particularly deserved as John and Janice left their homes in the middle of the night when they heard a woman who was clearly terrified and in real trouble.”

The Commissioner and Chief Constable addressed the audience of officers, staff, members of the public and partners such as Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Officer, Paul Fuller, who thanked the police for all that they do “speaking as a grateful member of the public myself”.

Mrs Holloway told the audience: “I came to Bedfordshire Police to give you a voice - in the media, in public, in Government and to speak on your behalf to the police watchdog (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services) but you gave me something to shout about!”

The Commissioner was referencing the watchdog’s recent decision to find Bedfordshire Police the most improved force of all 43 in the country for Effectiveness and to finally release it from its enhanced scrutiny process for forces found to have causes for concern.

She also praised Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher. “The Chief and I work shoulder to shoulder. I’ve worked with around half the Chiefs in England in the past and I have never met one who walks the floors as he does and who turns up without warning at all hours of the day and night - which must be a mixed blessing! He is incredibly hard-working and absolutely dedicated to this Force and the public it serves.”

Full list of winners:

> Jon Henry Shield – PC Caz Murphy

> Chief Constable’s Protecting the Shield Police Officer of the Year -Sergeant Karen Jarman

> Above & Beyond Award - Members of the public John Laidlaw, Janice Heath and Keleel Baksh

> Volunteer of the Year - Specials 100 days of Action

> PCSO of the Year - PCSO Louise Pantazi

> Making a Difference Award - Dementia Champions

> Special Constable of the Year - Simon Petch

> Thinking outside the box - Detective Superintendent Liz Mead

> Changing culture Award - Inspector Mo Aziz & Detective Constable Ruth John-Chambers

> Victim Service Award – Investigation Officer Gary Hales

> Wellbeing Champion/Mentoring - Chief Inspector Zara Brown

> Investigator of the Year – Detective Constable Karl Heywood

> Police Staff Employee of the Year - Zoe Davies

> Team of the Year - Cyber Hub

> Cadet of the Year – Mikey Johns