Bravery and dedication honoured at Sussex Police awards
A PC who saved the life of a baby and two officers who dealt with a man armed with knives threatening to kill his entire family were amongst those honoured with Sussex Police awards.
More than 100 members of the force, as well as members of the public, were handed West Sussex divisional awards by the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Mark Spofforth, at Arundel Castle on Monday night.
The countless tales of amazing bravery, quick thinking, life-saving actions and tenacious police work were all celebrated on a special evening.
When PC Amanda Phipps and her colleague PC Mark Robinson spotted a car running two red lights and driving erratically while out on patrol in Crawley they assumed it was a drunk driver.
But when they pulled the car over they found parents who were trying to get to hospital with their two-week-old baby who had stopped breathing.
PC Phipps took decisive action, taking the baby from its mother and performing CPR while PC Robinson drove them to Crawley Hospital under blue lights.
Because of their actions the baby made a full recovery, and speaking about being awarded a Divisional Commendation, PC Phipps said: “My son was only one at the time so it was very close to home. That’s why I joined the police to be honest so you can feel like you make a difference.”
Also receiving a Divisional Commendation were Crawley PCs Chris Newby and Peter Wood.
They picked up a call from a man who said he was armed with knives and would kill his entire family and anyone else who came to his address unless police got there within 15 minutes.
PC Wood said: “When we found his address we knocked on the door and found that his family had no idea what was going on. Because of the situation we had to go straight in, we found the chap and Chris and I challenged him with tasers.
“We managed to get him under control, handcuffed and arrested him, and that’s when we found two knives on him.”
PC Wood continued to support the man until he was handed over to the mental health services.
Sergeant Stuart McConachie was also given a Divisional Commendation for his swift action when attending a stabbing in Horsham in April, 2015.
The man had been stabbed in the bicep and severed an artery and was losing a huge amount of blood before Sgt McConachie arrived and managed to stem the flow of blood.
Introducing sgt McConachie’s award, chief inspector Justin Burtenshaw said: “The man came very close to dying and the paramedics who eventually took over said if he hadn’t done the first aid that he did, he would not be with us today.”
PC Olivia Smith was also awarded after she talked two suicidal men out of jumping from car parks in Worthing, while she also managed to convince a woman who had cut herself to surrender a knife.
The audience heard how she remained calm as she built up a rapport with all three individuals, convincing each of them not to act.
Police sergeant Suzi Randall was also handed a Divisional Commendation for leading ‘some of the most challenging incidents across West Sussex’, including a Samurai sword attack in Selsey in 2015, a double murder in Chidham and the murder of a young Bognor man in Chichester, both in 2016.
“If I was asked what a good sergeant was I would point to Suzi,” said Superintendent Jane Derrick, introducing the award. “The successful investigation and results of these was down to her first-class leadership.”
PC Mick Jones, PCSO Julie Jones and Jennifer McMann, from Arun District Council, were also recognised for their work in the closure of a house in Bognor Regis after prolonged anti-social behaviour.
It was the first successful closure order carried out in Sussex and their hard work has led to a ‘significant reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour in the Bognor area’.
Bognor Regis resident Gary Weller was one of a number of members of the public handed awards. He received the chief constable’s Commendation Award for his bravery in coming to the aid of a PC and a PCSO who were struggling by restraining a violent suspect and preventing the potential for serious injury.
PC Glyn Knight, from Haywards Heath was also commended for ‘putting himself’ in the firing line’ to break up a large fight on the Broadway while off-duty.
Members of the force were also hailed for their dogged investigations which led to the prosecutions of a number of persistent child abusers, while the Crawley B Section street triage team were honoured for working with mental health nurses to reduce the number of vulnerable people having to go into custody.
After the awards had been handed out, both temporary deputy chief constable Robin Smith and chief superintendent Steve Whitton paid tribute to those honoured.
DCC Smith said: “Determination, leadership, courageousness, dedication, bravery, tenacity, teamwork and professionalism are words I have heard repeatedly tonight and it’s a tremendous privilege to be here and see so many of you given awards.”
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