Summer Awards Ceremony

On Wednesday 1 August, Police officers and specials attended an awards ceremony at China Fleet in Saltash which was attended by DCC Paul Netherton and Mr Simon Young, Deputy Lieutenant for Devon, alongside other high ranking representatives from across departments within the force.

Safety Camera Partnership Constable Abigail Bedson (pictured with Deputy Lieutenant Simon Young and DCC Paul Netherton) received a Long Service award after joining Devon & Cornwall Police in March 1998, continuing the family career. Abi started her career in Newton Abbot on Response, before moving to the Metropolis of Moretonhampstead in 1999, who did not know what hit them when suddenly a fresh faced 22-year-old was carrying out licencing checks.

Never destined for a quiet life, Abi, unsurprisingly moved to Paignton in 2000, where she managed to work with both her dad, a Response Sergeant and her brother.

In 2001 Abi put her patience and communication skills to good use training new recruits before moving to Middlemoor in 2002 as a Press Officer, working on many major incidents and murder enquires, almost the face of Sky TV for a while.

In 2004, with only six years’ service, Abi put her love of driving cars to good use joining Newton Abbot Traffic initially before moving to Plymouth Traffic in 2005.

Abi is one of the rare people that both understand and enjoy tachographs and Hazchems. Her qualifications in both subjects has led to deployment on national Operations. Abi has a talent and passion for investigation that any DC would be envious of, however she combined these skills along with her Family Liaison Officer role to transfer to the Serious Collisions Investigation Unit in 2011. During this period Abi was OIC for many serious and fatal road traffic collisions, securing successful prosecutions at Crown Court and supporting bereaved families through the Coronial process.

In 2016 Abi joined the Safety Camera Partnership in Bodmin, where she remains, investigating attempts to pervert the course of justice cases and working with local partners to reduce fatal and serious injury collisions on the roads of Devon & Cornwall. Last year Abi organised a series of operations resulting in over 10,000 offences being detected.

DS Jamie Gilbert joined Sussex police in 1998 whilst always pining a return to Devon and Cornwall where he was born and bred. In 2003 Jamie transferred to Devon and Cornwall Police and has worked in many roles including Response, Local Policing, Force Support Group, CID, Prisoner Handling Team and Crime Management Hub.

In 2010 Jamie successfully passed the Trainee Detective Programme and has remained in Local Investigation in Plymouth since that time. In 2015 Jamie was promoted to Sergeant and remained within Local Investigation inheriting a team four PCs to supervise, only one of which was ever at work at any given time. As a result however Jamie is now an expert on all aspects of attendance management, whilst maintaining a fantastic attendance record himself.

Jamie is a proud family man ensuring that they come first in relation to everything he does, enjoying an annual trip to Spain with them, where he hopes to retire to eventually.

Jamie’s main priority as a supervisor is to assist developing officers’ careers and development whilst at the same time promoting their wellbeing.

Sgt Andrew Lear joined Devon and Cornwall Police in 1998, successfully completing his probationary period on Patrol in Barnstaple. Described in his week 90 review as a punctual, smart and keen officer who does not fear confrontation, Andrew quickly drew the attention of his supervisors for his professionalism and dedication. In 2000, Sergeant Glen Mayhew noted Andrews’s bravery for entering a building to arrest a violent knife wielding offender who had held his partner and baby hostage, threatening to stab officers. A violent struggle ensued before Andrew restrained and arrested the offender.

Andrew spent six years working on the Targeted Policing Team and the Tactical Aid Group and was involved in a number of major operations both in and out of force, including the challenging events of the London riots and the NATO summit.

Andrew later returned to Response, where in 2008 he was promoted to Sergeant, quickly establishing himself as a well-respected supervisor.

Andrew continued to demonstrate his bravery when in 2008, he and his colleagues entered a gas filled building in Barnstaple and arrested a male who was inside threatening to blow the building up along with a hostage. This saw Andrew and his colleagues receive a Chief Constable’s Commendation with Star for outstanding bravery in the face of extreme danger.

In 2016 Andrew joined the Alliance Roads Policing team in Barnstaple where he forged a reputation for being an inspirational Sergeant and respected Lead Investigator. Andrew has been Lead Investigator for a number of road death investigations, representing Devon and Cornwall Police through both court and coronial processes as well as supporting his officers through the most challenging of circumstances.

Andrew has always promoted positive working relationships with his team as well as colleagues in other departments, leading many to comment on the unique one-team culture that currently exists in Barnstaple, this is due in no small part to Andrews’s inspirational leadership style.

Andrew manages his own resilience well and recognises the importance of managing the wellbeing of his officers at a time where road deaths are increasing and the demands on his team are high.

Andrews holds a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry with Medical Biochemistry. In his police application he outlined how the course promoted similar skills to those required for policing, including practical skills and analytical problem solving. He later went on to described the course as ‘monotonous’ so it is unclear exactly how similar he finds policing now!

A keen sportsman, Andrew achieved County honours at senior level for rugby and represented Devon and Cornwall Police for a number of years, including two as captain, as well as playing for the British Police Rugby team.

Sgt Rich Poole joined Devon and Cornwall Police on the 28 March 1998. He started his career in Truro, moving after two years to Newquay where he worked alongside his sister.

Rich was born in Truro and grew up in Padstow, upon leaving college he joined the Royal Navy, where he served for six years. His last deployment being in the Caribbean, where he worked alongside the DEA and US Coastguard, helping to seize over 200 million dollars of cocaine.

Upon joining the police Rich swiftly moved to Operations in Bodmin as a Firearms Officer. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, qualifying as a Traffic Senior Investigating Officer and Firearms Tactical Advisor.

Rich throughout his career has worked tirelessly to protect the public within Devon and Cornwall, and has many letters of thanks attached to his personal file. He received a Chief Constables Commendation in 2002 for bravery when he safely detained a young male attempting suicide.

Rich left Operations to return to Devon where he worked in Honiton on Response, then moving to Exeter control room in 2014.

In 2015 Rich was pivotal in the creation of Street Triage, creating a role that introduced a joined up way of working between the police and mental health practitioners. Introducing clinicians into police control rooms was ground breaking, and led to national and international recognition. Since the introduction of Street Triage, Rich has travelled far and wide sharing the benefits of early clinical advice and close partnership working, his furthest adventure took him to Canada, and working with the Royal Canadian mounted Police.

Rich’s desire to protect the public has continued with his interest outside work where he was a member of the Padstow lifeboat crew for 15 years, the Newquay cliff rescue team for five years, he is an ambulance first responder, a first aid trainer and qualified rugby coach.

Throughout his career has Rich worked across Devon and Cornwall having undertaken roles within firearms, roads policing, public order, and as a command and control Sergeant, he has always been dedicated to safeguarding the public from harm and support his staff and colleagues. Richard is continuing his career as a full time police federation representative where he can continue to focus on welfare and support for his fellow officers.


DC Lee Western received a judge’s commendation for Operation Fardel, a three year long investigation into serious and organised fraud and money laundering on a national scale, which affected many very vulnerable and elderly victims across the United Kingdom.

This Commendation recognises the exemplary work of Lee as a Lead Investigator and Case Officer for a prosecution of six defendants who played their part in a multi-million pound organised crime network. The Right Honourable Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson stated the criminality was ‘highly planned and pitiless’. The six defendants were part of a sophisticated fraud and money laundering operation with significant impact on their victims who were both ‘vulnerable and gullible’, in the words of the Judge.

The six defendants were sentenced to 20 years collectively in prison, four of whom will be deported out of the country upon their release.

What makes the work of Lee beyond that of his peers is the sheer tenacity, professionalism and thoroughness demonstrated throughout, managing the pressure of knowing that all of the victims, partners and others in the organisation were relying on him primarily, to turn this investigation into a success. With the support of other investigators, Lee led the team to uncover evidence that would easily have been missed if it were not for his ability to investigate highly confusing and conflicting evidence and follow his instinctive inquisitive mind to establish the truth.

The many victims, aged in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, were left devastated by these crimes, losing thousands of pounds, affecting their health and mental well-being, having fallen foul to these unscrupulous fraudsters in the presumed safety of their own homes.

The Right Honourable Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson stated in his summing up that the investigation had the potential to become unmanageable (due to the sheer scale of offending), but due to the diligence and thoroughness of Lee, it was a commendable prosecution case.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

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