Teams and individuals of police officers and staff who have helped save lives and serve the public have been recognised at a special ceremony recently.
Awards were presented to police officers and staff on Thursday (9 November) at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas - which celebrated the achievements of those who have excelled in their duties in serving Staffordshire’s communities.
One of the many awards saw Chief Constable Chris Noble present PC Emily Gabbott and PC Joshua Taylor with the Excellence in Bravery Award. In June this year, the duo showed outstanding bravery to rescue a woman from a house during a fire. They made quick decisions to enter the home without waiting for other patrols and services and found the woman unconscious upstairs in smoke filled room.
Both Emily and Joshua were able to bring the woman to safety and the incident had a positive outcome, with the woman now having made a full recovery.
Looking back at that incident and on their award win, Joshua said: “To have been nominated for this award was an honour in itself, and to have been recognised and to have won meant a lot to me.
“We had to act fast because the woman was suffering with carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation. I was able to safely remove her from the property while Emily looked for any further casualties. Fortunately, no one else was in the property at the time.
“We’re both glad there was a positive outcome and really pleased the woman was able to make a full recovery.”
Emily added: “Officers face challenges like this on a daily basis with no recognition. I am very grateful along with Joshua to be recognised for this award but I believe any officers in our position would have taken the same actions.
“I will feel forever grateful for this award and it is an award that I will always cherish in the years to come. It is still a surreal experience for me, and I am still in shock that I have been worthy to be awarded Excellence in Bravery.”
The Police Dog of the Year Award, in memory of Karen Bloor, was given to PC Robert Mountford and Police Dog (PD) Tiger.
One incident saw both PC Mountford and PD Tiger track down a man who had recently been released from prison. On the same day, he went to someone’s house and threatened the person inside. He ran away when officers tried to arrest him. Then, PC Mountford directed local officers to key locations in order to contain the area whilst he and PD Tiger began searching. PD Tiger was able to detain the suspect and PC Mountford arrested him.
Awards were also given to Chief Inspector John Cole and Caroline Coombe, who were both awarded the Chief Constable’s Lifetime Achievement Award, for their commitment to the force in careers which have spanned more than half a century combined.
John has been with the force for 30 years predominately in front-line policing, and even now is still volunteering to perform public order and firearms command roles. He has worked tirelessly to create training packages to support others to develop the skills required to deliver an excellent policing service.
Caroline has been involved in the majority of police officer and staff journeys with Staffordshire Police, from the inductions of student officers through to promotion panels for the higher serving ranks. She was recognised for always being available to offer help and support to colleagues to allow staff to progress through their careers.
Reflecting on his award win, John said: “I feel honoured and humbled to have been recognised for my 30-year career. Whilst accepting this award I wish to acknowledge the great people I have worked with and those that we have sadly lost.
“I remember arriving at the old police headquarters in 1993 for my first day of training. I was then posted to Newcastle and under the strict supervision of Sgt Mark Speedman, I became an officer. I have been fortunate to have been involved with a number of fantastic teams, including major investigations, child protection, a year’s secondment at the Home Office for National Victim and Witness work before taking roles in the control room as the force duty officer.
“Good policing is borne out of good people who join to do the right thing and help people. That hasn’t changed in 30 years.”
Speaking following the ceremony, Chief Constable Chris Noble said: “The Force Awards were an opportunity to recognise the fantastic work being done by colleagues, which is making a real difference to our communities in Staffordshire. It’s a real highlight in the year for us to come together to recognise, celebrate and thank the award winners but also the wider force for their continuing hard work, dedication and professionalism.”
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The full list of award winners are as follows:
Police Cadet Thomas Woodall - Police Cadet of the Year Award in Memory of Annabel Lewis
Dave Fynn - Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award
David Keeling - Staff Member of the Year Award
Phillip Daly - Volunteer of the Year Award
PC Emily Gabbott and PC Joshua Taylor - Excellence in Bravery Award in Memory of John Taylor
PCSO Andrea Horsnall - PCSO of the Year Award
PD Tiger and PC Rob Mountford - Police Dog of the Year Award in Memory of Karen Bloor
Faith Lindley-Cooke - Outstanding Contribution Award with a Staffordshire Police crest
Inspector John Cole and Caroline Coombe - Chief Constable’s Lifetime Achievement Award with a Staffordshire Police crest
Superintendent Paul Talbot - Excellence in Leadership Award with a Staffordshire Police crest