The outstanding bravery and exceptional professionalism of officers facing some of the most challenging incidents has been celebrated during a special ceremony.
The Joint Operations Unit (JOU) Commendations Ceremony saw a total of 22 officers and staff recognised for excellent service and courage when confronted with some truly daunting scenes.
The individuals, as well as one police dog, were honoured at a ceremony on Thursday, October 5, at Sulhamstead police training centre in Berkshire.
The ceremony was hosted by JOU Chief Superintendent Stephen Williams and recognised the dedication and professionalism of the recipients.
The JOU is a collaboration between Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police which covers three broad areas of policing, Operations, Roads Policing and Firearms.
The unit was formed to bring together highly specialised units and teams with a vast array of skills to protect the communities within the two force areas.
Chief Supt. Williams said: “Being able to celebrate the outstanding bravery and dedication of our officers and staff is a great honour.
“Despite being confronted with armed suspects or faced with harrowing life or death situations, these officers have not hesitated to do their very best for the protection of others.
“Our officers and staff within the JOU are deployed to some of the most challenging and often dangerous incidents due to their expertise in specialist areas and it makes me extremely proud to see how they go above and beyond to help make our communities safer.”
We are pleased to be able to share details of some of the awards presented at the ceremony.
PC Nicola Sarjeant – Roads Policing Havant
Having to tell someone that their loved one has died unexpectedly in a devastating collision is one of the hardest jobs any officer can do.
But PC Nicola Sarjeant doesn’t shy away for this difficult task and does it with exceptional professionalism and compassion.
This was demonstrated when she was appointed family liaison officer (FLO) for the families of two men who died following a horrific collision on the M271 in Southampton, in December 2015.
A lorry collided with a car, which killed both men inside the car.
Investigations found that the lorry driver, Keith Mees, of Swanlincote, Derbyshire, had been using his phone while driving.
He was charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty.
PC Sarjeant took on the role for both families and was with them throughout the investigation, the court hearing and the incredibly stressful sentencing.
As the victims were both Romanian nationals, PC Sarjeant was faced with added challenges to her role.
There were issues with communicating across countries as the families needed support with repatriation, as well as dealing with a coroner and police across borders, often overcoming language, bureaucratic and legal complications.
The relatives of both victims were extremely grateful to PC Sarjeant for the efforts she went to and the fact that she went “above and beyond” of what we expect of a FLO.
It is clear that Nicola has provided extensive support to two bereaved families.
The professionalism, dedication and empathy she showed was outstanding and not only provided immeasurable assistance to them but also significantly helped the investigation team.
DS Gavin Collier, PC Ian Bailey, Sgt Mark Furse, PC Lucy Hawkins, PC Dave Mitchell and PC Adam Leech – Roads Policing Unit (PC Leech and Mitchell did not attend)
When faced with a fatal hit and run but very little evidence to go on, this team pulled out all the stops to get the driver responsible off our roads.
On April 28, 2016, a cyclist was struck by a Ford Transit flatbed vehicle on the A338, near Fordingbridge.
The vehicle failed to stop, leaving the cyclist lying fatally injured in the middle of the road. He died several days later.
There was little evidence for the investigation team, other than some partial debris from a wing mirror, which may have come from the vehicle involved.
Extensive forensic, CCTV and surveillance work resulted in a vehicle being identified and a suspect was eventually arrested.
However, with no admission of guilt and a lack of solid evidence the team worked hard to build a picture of his movements before and after the collision.
The defendant, Noah Chapman, 23, from Salisbury, maintained his innocence right up until his court appearance but when faced with an overwhelming amount of evidence that proved he could have been the only person driving, he eventually pleaded guilty.
To this day the vehicle has not been found.
He was jailed for three years for causing death by careless driving. He was also disqualified from driving for five and a half years.
This successful outcome is purely down to the skills, dedication, professionalism and tenacity of the investigation team.
This outstanding work not only ensured that justice was served but has also resulted in a dangerous driver being removed from our roads.
PC Warren Mason – Firearms officer
There is no doubt that the specialist skills of this officer and his determination not to give up, helped to saved the life of a critically injured man.
PC Warren and three colleagues were on patrol in Southampton on December 15, when they came across a severely injured man who had just been hit by a car on The Avenue.
The 28-year-old man had multiple serious and life-threatening injuries, including a catastrophic bleed from his back.
Stuck in the middle of a crash scene at night, they immediately began first aid.
For more than 15 minutes they used their enhanced skills and specialist equipment to treat the man until paramedics arrived.
However, such was the seriousness of the injuries, they were needed to assist the paramedics for a further 20 minutes until he was stable enough to be moved.
Their outstanding professionalism and teamwork ensured the patient was taken from the scene as quickly as possible and with the very best chance of survival.
The injury to his back was so severe that the trauma consultant said he had never seen anything like it before and the paramedics at the scene said that the actions of these officers saved the man’s life.
PC Andrew Gamblin and PC Neal Skinner – Dog section
Despite facing what could have been a potentially hazardous situation, these two officers did everything they could to save a man’s life.
PC Gamblin and PC Skinner were first on the scene following reports of a man in need of medical attention in a field in Alton on April 29.
They both quickly assessed the scene and ensured they were both wearing appropriate protective equipment from their first aid kit to safely deliver CPR to the man.
Under these particularly difficult circumstances the pair continued to give CPR for almost half an hour, until paramedics after and sadly pronounced the man dead.
Despite the outcome, the calm, methodical approach of these officers to vital first aid had given the man the best possible chance of survival, which will hopefully be of some comfort to his family.
Throughout this incident both demonstrated exceptional professionalism and commitment.