Cornwall police awarded for bravery and good work

Police officers from across Cornwall have received awards to recognise some of the excellent work they have done on cases ranging from murders to attempted suicides.

At a ceremony held at County Hall, Truro the following awards were presented:

CAMBORNE AND REDRUTH

Suicidal teenager persuaded off a cliff edge

An officer who persuaded a suicidal teenager away from the edge of a cliff has been awarded a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation for his dedication to duty. PC Lewis Vague, stationed at Camborne, attended an incident when a 16-year-old was dangerously close to a cliff edge. PC Vague was placed in a full restraint harness by coastguard officers and was able to persuade the young man to go back up to safety where his family were waiting. The coastguard team were stood down but, as the family were leaving the scene, the youth received a phone call that disturbed him and he again ran to the edge of the cliff followed by PC Vague. There was a 200 ft drop into the sea and PC Vague sat on the edge of the cliff, with no restraint harness to prevent him from falling, and encouraged the teenager to once again back away from the edge. He did so and was detained under the Mental Health Act and taken to hospital.

Brave officer dived into chilly reservoir

PC Richard Kendall was called to a car upside down in Stithians Reservoir with only the wheels visible. Without any regard for his safety in dark, unlit conditions PC Kendall scaled down a 12ft bank and was waist deep in freezing cold water. He tried in vain to gain access to the car in an attempt to release the trapped female driver. Sadly the driver could not be saved. For showing great courage PC Kendall was awarded a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation.

Police team arrested suspected knifeman in school hall

Three police officers successfully managed an incident where a man, who was reported to have a knife, was thought to pose a risk to over 200 children and parents watching a play in a school hall in West Cornwall

The man had gone to the school to confront his wife. The officers tried to coax him from the back of the hall but he refused to leave. PC Jason Rowe passed calm and concise updates to the incident manager while PC Christopher James entered the hall with his Taser drawn, but concealed, and together with a colleague, successfully used low key tactical communications to persuade the man to leave the hall. He was searched but no weapon was found.

Despite the potential risk to themselves and recognising what could so easily have escalated into a serious incident the officers remained calm and conducted themselves professionally. They identified a need to act swiftly to mitigate any risk to the public and demonstrated the confidence to take control of the situation, assessing the risk and considering an appropriate course of action. The fact that the incident was resolved successfully without any escalation on the part of the man or disruption to the children’s school play is a testament to the officers’ sound judgement and skilled communication. All three officers received Superintendent’s Certificates.

Team praised for bringing murder offenders to justice

A 20-year-old man died after being attacked outside a nightclub in Redruth in September 2015. Police set up Operation Darvel to catch the murderers who were convicted and given life sentences.

DC Jonathan Bray was responsible for managing the CCTV enquiries which proved to be key to the convictions. The quality of his work and the way he presented the evidence was subject of praise from Queen’s Counsel and the trial judge and was regarded as a standard others should aspire to.

His colleague DC Neil Goldsmith undertook the role of Family Liaison Officer and carried out his duties with the upmost compassion and professionalism coupled with a personal approach that ensured great confidence was created between the family and the police. The family of the victim have made it clear the positive impact DC Goldsmith had in the most difficult circumstances. Both officers received a Superintendent’s Certificate.

Rapist convicted 33 years after offence

DC Goldsmith also received a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation for the role he played in Operation Cadmus – the investigation into the 1982 rape of a woman at her Camborne home. Following a review of material Nicholas Bertram was arrested and convicted in 2015 receiving a 10 year custodial sentence. DC Goldsmith was instrumental in the completion of enquiries including tracing the victim who had emigrated. He was also involved in the arrest and interview of the suspect who had featured in the original enquiry and had committed a murder months later. In the role of Case Officer DC Goldsmith constructed a compelling case which resulted in the conviction 33 years after the rape.

DS Mark Jones led the team and he too received a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation for his exemplary leadership. Most of the original material had been destroyed and many witnesses had died or could not be located. DS Jones developed the evidence that remained and pursued modern day forensic opportunities which, in turn, led to the identification of a suspect who was a convicted murderer. DS Jones worked closely with prosecutors which led to the conviction.

Also receiving Chief Superintendent’s Commendations for their role in Operation Cadmus were:

DC Sarah Brown undertook the liaison role displaying a real empathy with the victim, initially engaging with her abroad before overseeing her return to the UK for formal interviews. DC Brown provided outstanding support before, during and after what was a challenging trial. Her professionalism and unwavering commitment was recognised by the victim who said that, without it, she may not have coped with the trial process.

Custody centre staff save a life

When a drunk man arrived at Camborne Custody Centre he unexpectedly collapsed and became unresponsive. Whilst waiting for the ambulance the station health care professional directed two sergeants and two detention officers on lifesaving techniques. The team inserted an airway, connected a defibrillator, administered oxygen and gave compressions. Their excellent work prevented the man deteriorating to a full cardiac arrest and he made a full recovery.

PENZANCE

Suicidal man talked off cliff

PC Joanna Deseta was on her own when she responded to a report of a suicidal man on the cliffs at Godrevy Point. She engaged him in conversation until she was joined by colleagues. By then she had created a good rapport with the man so the other officers kept their distance, monitoring the situation without causing further distress to the man who was very upset and moving from side to side appearing he might jump. PC Deseta continued to engage with him whilst remaining calm and professional. She bravely placed herself in a tactical position, close to the edge, between the man and the edge of the cliff. By the time the police negotiator arrived PC Deseta had defused the situation and, thanks to her excellent communication skills and bravery, the incident was resolved without injury or loss of life. PC Deseta received a Superintendent’s Certificate.

TRURO

Diligent detective work led to 14 life sentences

The detectives responsible for the reinvestigation and conviction of a care home worker for murder, arson with intent, eight counts of reckless arson and three counts of arson have received a Judge’s Commendation and Chief Superintendent’s Commendations.

Karen Pedley killed a 96-year-old resident when she set fire to Rosewyn House, Truro back in 2008. Serial arsonist Pedley continued to commit arson until 2010. She was sentenced to 14 life sentences in October 2016.

DS Mark Jones and DC Jonathan Bray were commended by the Honourable Mr Justice Teare for their hard work and dedication to the case as well as their diligence.

DC Bray, who assumed the role of Officer in the Case, displayed true professionalism throughout which resulted in a murder and a large number of additional serious offences being identified and attributed to the suspect.

DC Jones was the deputy senior investigating officer whose investigation and leadership skills meant that sufficient evidence was identified to prove the cases against the defendant.

Also receiving a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation for his role in the investigation was DC Damian Ayling who was the Officer in the Case. His dedication and professional decision-making resulted in a vital piece of witness evidence being identified which revealed a murder and numerous other serious arsons had been committed.

NEWQUAY

Police team save young family from violent man

Police rescued a young family after the mother’s partner, who was armed with a knife, locked himself and the family inside a home in Newquay.

The incident happened in November 2016 when Sgt Marc Griffin and PC Alan Bull were called to a domestic disturbance. On their arrival, displaying great courage, they helped the distraught mother and her 11-year-old daughter to escape through a lounge window. The man had locked them and four other young children in the house and, armed with a knife, was stabbing doors, fittings and fixtures displaying extreme violence. He tried to smash through the front door and was threatening to kill his partner and officers. Armed officers PC Scott Robinson, PC Robert Clue and dog handler PC Ben Jobes arrived. PC Jobes went to the back of the property on his own risking serious injury if the man had tried to leave through the rear. Hostage negotiators Sgt Andy Robinson and a colleague starting negotiating with the man who was frenzied and completely uncooperative. Their skill and professionalism was crucial in successfully resolving the incident. Over the course of several hours they eventually persuaded him to give himself up. The degree of violence and risk presented by the suspect was extreme and thankfully very rare. He was given a two year prison sentence suspended for two years.

PC Scott Robinson, PC Robert Clue, Sgt Andy Robinson received a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation for skill, professionalism and bravery whilst PC Alan Bull, PC Ben Jobes and Sgt Marc Griffin received a Superintendent’s Certificate.

Officers save heart attack motorist

PCs Andria Pollock and Lewis Vague were escorting a prisoner to a custody centre when they came across a single car collision on Trevemper Road, Newquay. A 70-year-old man had suffered a heart attack and crashed his car into a hedge. The officers ran to offer assistance and found the man had stopped breathing. They pulled him from the driver’s seat and performed CPR. The custody officer at Newquay had heard the incident on the radio and he quickly took a defibrillator to the scene. It registered an output and PCs Pollock and Vague continued to perform CPR for several minutes until the ambulance arrived to take him to hospital where he recovered. He had no recollection of the event but, without the quick thinking of the officers, he would not have survived.

Both officers received a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation.

Translator helped police protect horrific assault victim

The commitment of Newquay police officers and a translator resulted in a victim of domestic violence escaping her long-term tormentor.

Witnesses reported an assault on a Romanian woman who could speak little English. She appeared timid, isolated and traumatised but translator Alexandria Swain developed a relationship with her. DC Alistair Hellyar investigated the case and, following the interview, had serious concerns for her safety – it was obvious she was petrified of her partner. The suspect was cold and callous and displayed such contempt for the victim officers believed it was not a one-off incident. Due to the extreme reaction of the victim it was suspected she had been sexually assaulted which she later confirmed. DC Sarah Brown interviewed the victim and obtained the evidence that the investigation needed to proceed to court.

The man was charged and remanded to court for assault and controlling and coercive behaviour. Alexandria supported the woman and translated both for the police and support services. Alexandria, through her personality, empathy and compassion, built a relationship with the victim leading to her gradually disclosing the full horror of how she had been living. She had been subjected to a year of domestic abuse including rape, coercive behaviour and assaults. Three video interviews were completed and some six hours of testimony obtained – the intensity of the interviews and the horrific nature took their toll on both the victim and the officers concerned.

The victim had become isolated from her family who lived in the UK and Alexandria facilitated communication between her family and the police who were able to rebuild the family relationships and provide the victim with support. Alexandria maintained regular contact with the victim often outside of work hours when she needed support. The rapport they built enabled the victim to have confidence in the criminal justice system and to feel safe to provide evidence and support the prosecution. After a six day trail the offender was convicted and found guilty of assault, rape and controlling and coercive behaviour and given a ten year prison sentence.

DCs Hellyar and Brown received a Superintendent’s Certificate whilst Mrs Swain received a Good Citizenship award.

Detective Inspector Marie Ward, who nominated the team, said: β€œThe positive outcome in this case I believe had a far wider impact. The sizeable Romanian community in the mid-Cornwall area were aware of the offender who appeared to have a reputation of a hard man who exerted a great deal of control and authority over the Romanian community which was in fear of him. His conviction and sentence shows a clear message to the Romanian community that no-one is untouchable or above the law.”

ST AUSTELL

Off duty officer confronts burglar

A PC caught a prolific criminal burgling her neighbour’s home. PC Gemma Hollands was off duty when she saw a prolific offender standing by the rear door of her neighbours’ house, PC Hollands knew her neighbours were away so called St Austell police station requesting officers stop the man. Officers found a medal on him which he claimed had come from a car boot sale. In the meantime PC Hollands got ready for a cycle ride only to notice the doors of her neighbours’ property were now open. She entered the house and found the man whom she confronted. . She detained him until colleagues arrived. She was on her own and acted in a very professional and selfless manner. PC Hollands attended court in her role as Prolific and Priority Offender Manager to make representations. The man was given a 32-month custodial sentence. PC Hollands received a Superintendent’s Certificate for her actions off duty, detaining one of her own prolific offenders caught in the act.

St Austell cadet gets top job

Megan Wenmouth has been named as the Cornwall High Sheriff’s cadet for 2018.

Megan has been a police cadet in St Austell for three years and is an enthusiastic member of the unit, quick to help and encourage others and using her excellent communication skills to good effect.

The High Sheriff’s Cadet is an ambassador for young people bridging the gap between young people, the police and the community. She was selected from 200 cadets and had to go through an interview process, do a presentation and skill tests. She will represent the Community Police Cadets at special events including Royal visits and assist the High Sheriff, Sarah Coryton, at charity events and ceremonies.

The cadets have been part of the police family in Cornwall since September 2006. They learn about the legal system, good communications and the importance of working as a team. They take part in community events and undertake community projects.

BODMIN

Officer disarmed man with loaded crossbow

A police officer who tackled an aggressive man armed with a loaded crossbow has received a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation for bravery and excelling in her duties. PC Laura Curnow was with two colleagues when they managed to disarm a highly volatile armed man at a property in Bodmin. The man, who had seriously injured himself by smashing his head on hard objects, was detained on the floor but continued to try and harm himself. He was described as the most violent man the officers had ever dealt with. They put themselves at risk and showed no fear for their safety protecting the public and the offender from serious harm. Laura’s two colleagues received their award for the same incident last year.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

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