Sussex Police sergeant dubbed ‘RoboCop’ among winners at Chief Constable’s Annual Awards – in pictures

A sergeant dubbed ‘RoboCop’ by colleagues has been named as Police Officer of the Year in the Chief Constable’s Annual Awards.

Sergeant Alec Barrett has arrested 21 suspects and contributed to 76 arrests made by the team he leads in the past year, despite being signed off from duty in May after being seriously assaulted.

He was among 16 officers, staff and volunteers awarded for their exceptional work over the past year at a ceremony at the East Sussex National on Thursday, November 9.

The awards, which were fully sponsored, were presented in front of family, friends, distinguished guests. Award category sponsors included Peter James, The Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, The Police Federation and Blast! Films.

Nominating Alec for the award, Police Constable Kevin Creasey said: “He is the hardest working sergeant that I have had the pleasure of working under. He must be the most dedicated officer Sussex Police has.”

Alec was given the nickname ‘RoboCop’ for his incredible arrest record. His dedication also shone through when a baby was missing in Brighton in March this year. Alec co-ordinated the search and led the extensive house to house enquiries, working throughout the night and again the next morning, despite having a young child at home.

Picking up the award, Alec said: "This is hugely overwhelming. I'm extremely humbled to not only be here, but to be nominated for something, and win it - it is just amazing."

A member of staff who has been recognised for going above and beyond is PCSO Ann-Marie Rushworth.

Nominating her for the PCSO of the Year award, Sergeant Isobel Wimbleton said: “She is the gold star example of what a PCSO should be. When it comes to Ann-Marie, nothing is too much trouble. She is an inspiration every day and the best beat PCSO I’ve ever seen.”

Ann-Marie was one of the first people on scene providing lifesaving first aid when a teenager was stabbed in Worthing town centre this year. And thanks to her incredible local knowledge, she was quickly able to identify the suspects.

Picking up the award, Ann-Marie said: "I'm a little bit shocked, but I am very, very honoured. To be recognised for the things that you do is very nice.

"I love my job. There's never a day I get out of bed and think 'I don't want to go to work'. The day that happens will be the day I need to retire."

Police Constable Daniella Gardner scooped the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Award for her passion for diverting children away from the criminal justice system. Out of a cohort of 20 children that were identified for committing violent acts and anti-social behaviour, 17 have come away from the criminal justice system thanks to Daniella’s interventions.

Nominating Daniella, Sergeant Amy McAlees said: “For me, to see her recognised will just show that she really is appreciated and her work has been fantastic.”

Picking up the award, Daniella said: "It is a real privilege to win this award. I don't do my job to get recognition, but it is great to be recognised for what you do.

"It feels really rewarding to be able to steer children away from the criminal justice system. I'm a mother myself and my children are my world. To see other children going down the wrong path and to be part of changing their lives is really amazing and something I'll always remember."

The Inspirational Leader of the Year award went to Chief Inspector Karen Osborn for how she leads her team in Brighton, nurturing their development and ensuring their wellbeing is at the forefront of her approach.

Nominating Karen, Chief Superintendent Rachel Carr said: “To see Karen recognised for this would absolutely mean the world to me and she deserves it.”

Picking up the award, Karen said: "I'm truly humbled that I was even nominated, so to win, it's just an amazing achievement.

"My team in Brighton work so hard, so the little things I can do to make their life a little bit easier means I get to go out there and work harder and harder every day and they are truly amazing and inspirational themselves."

Police Constable Sebastian Coleman scooped the Student Officer of the Year award. He joined the Safeguarding Investigation Unit (SIU) just over a year ago initially as an attachment as part of his university degree but immediately made a huge impact on the team. As such, he has now become a permanent member of staff.

Nominating Sebastian, Detective Sergeant Elizabeth Pike said: “He is a true team player who motivates those around him and is well respected by the department as a whole.”

Picking up the award, Seb said: "It's a real surprise for me to be here, so to be nominated and then win is just amazing. Everyone here is completely worthy of an award, so this is a real privilege."

Other award winners were:

Police Staff of the Year – Jennifer (Jenn) Marshall, Criminal Justice Quality and Care Manager

Lifetime Achievement Award – Detective Constable Nicola (Nicky) Beard

Team of the Year – Forensic Collision Investigations Unit

Special Constable of the Year – Michael Jacobs

Investigator of the Year, sponsored by Peter James – Detective Constable Danielle Flude (retired)

Michael Simmonds RPU Officer of the Year – Police Constable Rebecca (Becky) Knight

Hidden Unsung Hero – Sergeant Alvin Lee

Innovation Award – Police Constable John Winter

Diversity and Inclusion Award – Police Constable Annabella (Ella) Perfect and Police Constable Richard (Rich) Hall

Volunteer of the Year – Malcolm Flavell

Police Dog of the Year – PD Tsar and handler Police Constable Toby Spires

Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: "These awards mean a huge amount to me as the Chief Constable, mainly because I'm able to say a big thank you and appreciation to those people who often either put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities, but also those people behind the scenes who are often the unsung heroes of policing, keeping our communities safe.

"I was absolutely blown away this year by the level of the nominations we had. It was unbelievable to see the extra mile that many of our nominees had gone to to make sure they give that outstanding service to victims, witnesses and members of the public, but also internally to some of those people who also benefited from it. So I feel incredibly privileged to lead people who deliver so much every day."