Yesterday, the police team which helped save residents from a burning building and two local girls who attempted to save a woman from suicide are among the officers, staff and members of the public across Bristol being honoured by Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Chief Constable.
Extraordinary accounts of bravery, courage and commitment were celebrated this week (Tuesday 28th November) at a special awards ceremony at Merchants Hall, Bristol. Police officers and staff from Bristol were given accolades at the event, which was attended by Chief Constable Andy Marsh, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens, the High Sheriff of Bristol, Mr Anthony Brown.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “I’ve been in policing for over 30 years and within that time our work has changed greatly. Moving away from simply tackling crime we now also play a role in demanding new issues such as sexual exploitation, modern slavery and mental health; cases of which you will see in these awards. At the Bristol Force Award ceremony we presented 21 accolades and each celebrates the very best of policing; remarkable efforts, brilliant work, saving lives and acts of bravery.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “It’s a fantastic privilege and honour to meet the 21 extraordinary men and women who go above and beyond for other people and put themselves in danger with no consideration for their own safety. The heroism from residents, police officers, Specials and investigators is remarkable, our communities and their families should feel very proud of them. In my role as Police and Crime Commissioner I meet exceptional people who expect no recognition at all for what they do, particularly our police officers and staff. The dedication and commitment of these award winners to their communities is exemplary and their endeavours are hugely appreciated by the whole of Bristol.”
The award winners are as follows:
ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY
The Awards of the Royal Humane Society (RHS) are made to those who, at personal risk, save or endeavour to save life.
Chloe Gallagher and Laura Fox (Bristol) - Laura (from Stockwood) and Chloe (from Brislington) deserve recognition for their quick reaction, courage and for the humanity they showed in stopping and assisting a lady who was in crisis. This was a selfless, incredibly brave and courageous decision to try to save this ladies life, working in conjunction with the police and other emergency services.
In December 2016 Police were called to the sea walls area of Clifton Downs following a call from Chloe Gallagher. She and her friend Laura Fox had gone there to take a photograph of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and found a woman sitting on the cliff edge above a 300 foot sheer drop on the wrong side of the barrier who intended to take her own life. Laura climbed over the railings and sat next to the woman on the ledge and tried to talk her round whilst Chloe called 999 and held onto her friend through the metal fence to ensure she did not fall off the ledge.
The woman had said she would jump if the Police approached so Laura remained keeping her engaged in conversation, whilst Chloe passed information between Laura and the attending officers. A short time later the woman fell a small distance onto a lower ledge and officers immediately climbed over the safety barrier to assist her. As they tried to maintain communication with her, she tragically fell off the ledge.
Laura said: “We just went to the bridge for a drive. As soon as I saw the woman on her own the other side of the barrier, I knew something wasn’t right so called out to her. She said she wasn’t okay so I had to try to help her.”
Chloe added: “I called the police to explain the situation and I gave a description of the woman. I wanted to stay as close to Laura as possible to make sure she was safe too, it was a really dangerous situation on the ledge.”
Mr Mark Burdis (Bath): Mark showed real bravery, putting others before himself, his actions no doubt saved a women’s life. At 1am on New Year’s day, Mr Mark Burdis was walking with his partner Ms Lisa Haynes were walking back to their hotel after a night out in Bath along the towpath following the river bank. They heard unusual noises and a mobile phone ringing near the Avon Street area and found a woman struggling in the fast flowing, freezing river.
Mark positioned himself in the river bank, stooped to pull the woman out of the river and putting himself at risk of falling in too. Eventually he managed to pull her clear and both he and Lisa stayed with her and used what they could to keep her warm until an ambulance arrived.
Paul Gallagher, Watchet (between Taunton and Bridgwater) – First aider, Mr Gallegher went out of his way to save the life of a biker who stopped breathing after a road traffic incident just outside of Horner. Paul Gallagher provided care until paramedics arrived and continued to assist with chest compressions until the biker begin breathing again.
Paul said: “I was the only person in a crowd of about 20 people who had any first aid training, so had to step forward and help. I’ve never had to use my training in a real life situation and as I approached the scene I didn’t have much time to work out exactly what was going on and how I could help. I’ve met the biker since and we had breakfast about a year after – he is a great guy going through a touch recovery.”
PC Melanie Barton: PC Barton’s skill and courage helped saved the life of an elderly female who had collapsed in the road. PC Barton was single crewed and without time to move the lady, she knelt in the middle of the road with traffic passing around her to administer first aid, keeping the senior alive for twenty minutes until an ambulance arrived.
Sergeant Alex Cosgrove, SC Thomas Elsbury, PC Gary Lippiatt, PC Stuart Mathias, PC Faye Denford, PC Russell Tucker (Patchway) - A 999 call was received from a man who said he was hearing voices telling him to kill himself by jumping from Echo Bridge in Patchway. Upon arriving, officers found a man on the other side of the bridge and immediately ran to pull him to safely. Despite his size and his determination to take his life officers refused to let go of him, putting themselves at considerable risk of also being pulled over. After a twenty five minute struggle at a dangerous height, Fire and Rescue arrived to secure the officers and suicidal man using harnesses, allowing them to bring the group back to safety. Officers reacted quickly to save a man’s life, showing great determination and courage.
Sgt Kellie Millier, PC Matt Boiles, PC Alice Durston, PC Sam Hodson and Sgt Mark Jenkinson (Weston Super Mare) - Officers were called to a stabbing and on arrival they found a man with seriously injuries, gasping for air and bleeding profusely. Time was of the essence and officers took immediate action using limited first aid equipment and improvising with a high visibility tabard and a belt to help stem the bleeding. Officers calmed the distressed stab wound victim, keeping him conscious whilst attending his injuries. Upon arrival the ambulance crew said the actions taken by the officers had saved the male’s life.
PCSO Jasmine Chadwick (Bristol) - PCSO Chadwick put herself in considerable danger to save a person with mental health issues from jumping from a 7th floor balcony and taking his own life. PCSO Chadwick was making a routine visit to the man’s flat when he flew into an erratic rage and ran onto an unstable balcony area, throwing himself halfway over the railing. Chadwick dragged him off of the railings and to safety, restrained him with the help of a colleague and prevented him from further harm. The resident was suffering with complex and severe mental health issues due to not taking his prescribed medication.
PCSO Bethan Crowley and PCSO Jason Redfield (Bristol City Centre) - Whilst on foot patrol in Bristol City Centre, PCSOs Jason Refield and Bethan Crowley were called to a woman who was running into traffic on a dual carriageway. Dashing to her assistance, the PCSOs attempted to stop traffic and tried to calm the distressed lady, in the process Bethan was pushed hard in the chest and fell dangerously into the traffic. The officers eventually convinced the woman onto the pavement and she was detained and offered mental health support.
PC John Shaddick and PCSO Chea Scandrett (Portishead) - PC John Shaddick and PCSO Chea Scandrett were called to an incident following a report that a young male was threatening suicide by jumping out of his bedroom window. The situation developed into a risky and complex scenario, if it wasn’t for their bravery, climbing to the male and administering first aid on the roof, he would have fallen and sustained serious injury or worse. Their presence and spontaneous actions saved this person’s life.
PCSO Chea Scandrett said: “Incidents involving mental health are often very challenging and unpredictable; I’d never dealt with an issue quite like this before. We always try to be emphatic, either calming people down by just having a friendly chat or asking people ‘what’s the problem?’ and ‘how can I help you?”
CHIEF CONSTABLES COMMENDATION
For significant personal courage or significant initiative and/or commitment in the execution of duty far and beyond what should normally be expected.
PC Arthur Allaker, PC Shaun Oliver and PC Andrew Wildish – in April 2017 police were called to a large residential block of flats where there was a report of a building fire and calls for help from residents. PC’s Oliver, Allaker and Wildish arrived prior to Fire and Rescue and bravely entered the building in order to assist other residents out of the property and forced entry to one flat to help pull a man to safety. Had not been for the courageous actions of these three officers then the outcome could have been tragic, they put the safety of the residents before their own and should be commended for the role each of them played on this day.
PC Arthur Allaker said: “It was the first fire I’d attended and as we approached we could see the resident leaning out of his window with lots of thick black smoke around him. Once we entered the building, the smoke really affected us but as we were first on scene we knew we had to continue working and acting fast to keep everybody safe.”
MCIO Hilary Norley –
Hilary was provided a vital contribution to a two year investigation into child sexual exploitation and abuse which resulted in 7 defendants facing 48 charges in relation to 7 victims. This was a complex investigation with enormous challenges in engaging with extremely vulnerable victims, identifying offenders, in addition to managing a huge volume of material. There is no doubt that without Hilary’s total dedication to the case and continued work at the highest level, it would not have been the success it was.
Posted on Tuesday 28th November 2017