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Acts of bravery praised in Chief's commendations ceremony

15 Mar 2019

Exceptional acts of selflessness, compassion and bravery across Cambridgeshire have been recognised – with praise also going to a celebrity this year.

The Chief Constable’s Commendations and Long Service Ceremony took place at force headquarters in Hinchingbrooke last night (14 March) with awards going to those who had gone above and beyond.

This round of awards also shone the spotlight on Channel 4 documentary Famous and Fighting Crime – with the actions of celebrity Katie Piper and officers in the last episode of the series commended.

Chief Constable Nick Dean praised everyone who had excelled as he presented the awards.

He said: “As we present these awards it is overwhelming to read the stories of outstanding bravery, compassion and kindness towards others in very difficult circumstances.

“You have stepped up to help someone in need, to put your own lives at risk and to go above and beyond for the people of Cambridgeshire – and to each and every one of you, I say thank you.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite added: “One of the most rewarding parts of my role is meeting members of the public who tell me just how supportive you have been, especially when people have been in difficult situations or unpleasant circumstances.

“What you do on a daily basis is outstanding and to be able to recognise and celebrate your efforts is a real honour.”

Julie Spence, Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, attended the event to present the Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal to officers who had served 20 years or more within the force.

Other officers, police staff and members of the public were also commended for their actions.

TV star Katie Piper, together with Sgt Michael Johnson, PC Danny Cummings, PC Craig Farrington and PC Nathan Southerland were thanked for their bravery in the early hours of 23 May last year.

The team of officers, accompanied by Katie during filming for the Channel 4 series, led residents to safety after a block of flats in Peterborough caught fire.

Small children were carried from the building and elderly residents were helped to safety by the team, who arrived on scene before the fire service.

About 20 flats were evacuated. Some officers received treatment for smoke inhalation, but remained on duty.

PC Chris Cawdery was given the Testimonial on Vellum award after single-handedly pulling a man from the wreckage of a crash in Peterborough.

He was first on the scene after a car left the A47 and crashed through trees and a fence in Bretton Fields before catching fire on 1 January, 2016. The driver was conscious but injured and trapped.

PC Cawdery got into the car through the passenger door and dragged the man to safety – almost certainly saving his life.

PC Tamsin Nichols, PC Rosie Wilkes and off-duty nurse Shirley Slender received a Royal Humane Society award for saving the life of a woman who had collapsed in Elm, Wisbech on 27 May last year.

DC Clemie Yaxley, PC Simon Berrill, Sgt Hayley Carter, PC Kurtis Irving, PC Anna Pollard and two members of the public were commended for a courageous team effort that helped save the life of a man in Peterborough.

On the morning of 29 November last year police were called after a man climbed over the Fletton Parkway bridge near Oxney Road.

The road was closed and DC Yaxley, who was off duty, controlled the man, with help from members of the public, and held his hand.

Two members of the public also climbed over the barrier to help. One had lost his mother to suicide just two weeks previously and felt compelled to help in spite of his fear.

PCs Pollard and Irving were the first on-duty officers on the scene and asked members of the public to grab whatever they could to secure a makeshift harness – using rope, dog leads and even telephone wiring.

PC Irving, who had only been on shift for five weeks, leaned over the barrier to hold the man while Sergeant Carter coordinated a response with limited resources.

After liaising with fire and ambulance, the man was brought back to safety. Julio O’Malley, aged just 14, was praised for his bravery after saving the life of his mum on 25 March, 2018.

Julio was upstairs at his Peterborough home when he heard a commotion downstairs.

He went to investigate and saw a man attacking his mother, who was covered in blood and begging for her life.

Acting quickly and with outstanding bravery, Julio stamped on the offender’s head as he lay grappling with his mother on the floor.

This allowed Julio and his mother to escape and call police. Julio’s mother believes her son’s actions that night saved her life.

In October last year, Jonathan Youthed was jailed for 10 years for GBH with intent, threats to kill and racially aggravated harassment.

Sergeants Darren Gore and Carl Harris were also praised for saving a woman who was threatening to drown herself in a lake in Peterborough in December last year.

PCs Lewis Busby and Harry Howe were praised for their actions to save a man’s life by holding onto his arms as he dangled from the top of a multi-storey car park in Peterborough on New Year’s Eve 2018.

Sergeant Emma Hilson and negotiator DI Garry Webb also received commendations after ensuring a man who was threatening to commit suicide was brought to safety.

Sgt Hilson had finished a shift and was driving home at about 6pm on 11 September last year when she saw a man standing on the wrong side of the barriers on a bridge over the busy A11.

She stopped and went to speak to the man on the bridge between Fulbourn and Balsham, while asking passing motorists to call for assistance.

The man responded by attempting to assault her before returning to the wrong side of the barriers.

Sgt Hilson updated the control room and spoke to the man again, offering him reassurance.

When DI Webb arrived she provided an exceptional handover and together they negotiated for nearly two hours in difficult circumstances, until the man returned to the right side of the barriers.

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